87th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 9:30 AM
Weather Salience in a Random Sample of United States Residents
206A (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Alan E. Stewart, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and J. Demuth, J. K. Lazo, and R. E. Morss
This project provides an update on the most recent research that has been conducted with the Weather Salience Questionnaire (WxSQ). The WxSQ is a measure of the extent to which people find weather and climate to be of significance or importance. The WxSQ possesses seven subscales that reflect different but related domains in which people attach importance to weather and climate. Previously presentations at AMS in 2005 and 2006 discussed the WxSQ's functioning as a measurement tool in assessing weather salience. Using a sample of nearly 1000 undergraduate university students, it was established that the WxSQ assessed the following dimensions:

1. Seeking weather/climate information from multiple media and electronic sources. 2. Observing and noting atmospheric conditions directly (i. e., in person). 3. Effects of weather (and changes in the weather) on mood state. 4. Psychological attachment to particular weather/climate conditions. 5. Need to observe or experience changes/variety in weather and climate. 6. Seeking weather information during the possibility of a weather-related holiday. 7. Effects of weather (and weather changes) on activities of daily life (e. g., work, travel).

Research using the undergraduate sample suggested that weather salience was related to: 1. possessing a sense of personal identity rooted in the natural environment, 2. willingness to spend money to consume atmospheric-friendly products to mitigate global warming, 3. ability to accurately distinguish between weather watches and warnings (for men), and 4. the use of thermometers to check weather conditions.

A noteworthy shortcoming of the existing research with the WxSQ is that it has employed a sample of limited demography (i. e., university undergraduates from the southeastern United States).

In the present project, the authors will report on the results obtained from administering the WxSQ to random sample of United States residents. This data will be gathered in the fall of 2006. The national sample will allow: 1. an assessment of the WxSQ's performance with a demographically, geographically, and climatologically diverse sample, 2. comparison of weather salience facets across the two samples (i. e., national vs. undergraduates), 3. an examination of how aspects of weather salience relate to people's prior weather experiences, and 4. an examination of the relationship of weather salience to conditions of uncertainty associated with weather and climate.

Supplementary URL: