Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Carsey Institute: Americans' Knowledge of Polar Regions Up, But Not Their Concern

February 08, 2012
DURHAM, N.H. - Americans' knowledge of facts about the polar regions of the globe has increased since 2006, but this increase in knowledge has not translated into more concern about changing polar environments, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

"People's knowledge of polar regions and issues improved from 2006 to 2010, consistent with hopes that the International Polar Year in 2007 would boost public awareness. Unfortunately, we did not see a companion increase in concern about the environmental changes in these regions, due, in part, to ideological and political divisions," said Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at UNH and a senior fellow at the Carsey Institute.

Carsey Institute researchers, with support from the National Science Foundation, conducted the first comparative analysis of queries about the polar regions, which were included on the General Social Survey in 2006 and 2010. The polar questions covered topics such as climate change, melting ice, rising sea levels, and human or ecological impacts from environmental change. The surveys formed bookends to the International Polar Year in 2007-2008, which focused on scientific research along with outreach and education efforts to raise awareness of polar science.

The researchers found that the public's knowledge about the north and south polar regions showed modest gains between 2006 and 2010. The average "polar knowledge score" improved from 53 to 59 percent.

The surveys also carried an 11-question "science literacy" quiz, testing background knowledge about science. Science literacy did not improve from 2006 to 2010, but people with higher science literacy tend to care more about polar environmental change. More scientifically literate respondents also are more likely to favor reserving the Antarctic for science, rather than opening it to commercial development.

Unlike polar knowledge, concern about climate change in the polar regions showed no up or down trend, and there were no changes in support for reserving the Antarctic for science. However, the researchers found there has been an increase in political disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on climate-related questions.

"Among the environment-related issues, all but reserving Antarctica for science show increasing political polarization - and even support for reserv­ing the Antarctic divides along party lines. Polar issues, like many other topics in science, increasingly are viewed by the public through politically tinted glasses," Hamilton said.

The complete Carsey Institute report about this research is available at http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/CarseySearch/search.php?id=183. The research was conducted by Hamilton, Matthew Cutler, graduate student in sociology, and Andrew Schaefer, graduate student in sociology and a research assistant at the Carsey Institute.

The Carsey Institute conducts policy research on vulnerable children, youth, and families and on sustainable community development. The institute gives policy makers and practitioners the timely, independent resources they need to effect change in their communities. For more information about the Carsey Institute, go to www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

University of New Hampshire


Related Polar Regions Current Events and Polar Regions News Articles


Waterloo makes public most complete Antarctic map for climate research
The University of Waterloo has unveiled a new satellite image of Antarctica, and the imagery will help scientists all over the world gain new insight into the effects of climate change.

Certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they release
New research, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost uniformly accelerates atmospheric warming, indicating instead that certain Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they emit into the atmosphere.

Antarctic ice sheet is result of CO2 decrease, not continental breakup
Climate modelers from the University of New Hampshire have shown that the most likely explanation for the initiation of Antarctic glaciation during a major climate shift 34 million years ago was decreased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age
Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth's climate system across a "tipping point," where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible -- a hotly debated scenario with an unclear picture of what this point of no return may look like.

The simpler, the more heat-resistant - scientists uncover the key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers
The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change.

Study shows iron from melting ice sheets may help buffer global warming
A newly-discovered source of oceanic bioavailable iron could have a major impact our understanding of marine food chains and global warming.

'Smoking gun' evidence for theory that Saturn's collapsing magnetic tail causes auroras
University of Leicester researchers have captured stunning images of Saturn's auroras as the planet's magnetic field is battered by charged particles from the Sun.

Science: Surprising Species Shake-up Discovered
The diversity of the world's life forms - from corals to carnivores - is under assault. Decades of scientific studies document the fraying of ecosystems and a grim tally of species extinctions due to destroyed habitat, pollution, climate change, invasives and overharvesting.

Climate change study reveals unappreciated impacts on biodiversity
Shrinking ice sheets and melting ice caps are well known consequences of climate change. But a new study reveals that impacts on biodiversity will be just as severe in other regions of the world.

Today's Antarctic region once as hot as California, Florida
Parts of ancient Antarctica were as warm as today's California coast, and polar regions of the southern Pacific Ocean registered 21st-century Florida heat, according to scientists using a new way to measure past temperatures.
More Polar Regions Current Events and Polar Regions News Articles

Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal; or, Eighteen Months in the Polar Regions, in Search of Sir John Franklin's Expedition, in the Years 1850-51

Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal; or, Eighteen Months in the Polar Regions, in Search of Sir John Franklin's Expedition, in the Years 1850-51


This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Life in a Polar Region (Living in a Biome)

Life in a Polar Region (Living in a Biome)
by Carol K. Lindeen (Author)


Text and photographs introduce the polar region biome, describing its environment, plants, and animals including polar bears, seals, penguins, and arctic foxes.

Exploring Polar Regions (The Story of Exploration)

Exploring Polar Regions (The Story of Exploration)
by Judy Dodge Cummings (Author)




Spirit of the Polar Regions

Spirit of the Polar Regions
by Gerard Cheshire (Author)


Spirit of the Polar Regions

Polar Regions (Habitat Survival)

Polar Regions (Habitat Survival)
by Melanie Waldron (Author)


This book explores polar habitats around the world, looking at the plants and animals that live there, and the adaptations that help them to survive. Food webs, maps, and photos help bring the topic to life. Threats to polar habitats are also covered, as well as efforts to preserve them.

Draw Write Now, Book 4: The Polar Regions, Arctic, Antarctic (Draw-Write-Now)

Draw Write Now, Book 4: The Polar Regions, Arctic, Antarctic (Draw-Write-Now)
by Marie Hablitzel (Author), Kim Stitzer (Author)


Beginning drawing and writing lessons for children ages five to ten. BOOK 4 focuses on the Polar Regions -- Arctic and Antarctic. The books are simple enough for a young child to do independently, but a teacher or parent may present the lessons. Each drawing lesson includes a colorful picture and step-by-step instructions, while the writing lesson includes four simple handwritten sentences. The teacher or parent may introduce letter formation or have the children copy the sentences for handwriting practice, or use the lessons as a springboard for creative writing or report writing. Developed by an elementary school teacher and co-authored by her daughter. A brief list of the 21 lessons in the book includes Blue Whale, auroras, Arctic people, polar bear, igloo, tundra, wolf, penguin,...

The Polar Regions: A Political Geography

The Polar Regions: A Political Geography
by Sanjay Chaturvedi (Author)


The Polar Regions is a systematic investigation of both the geopolitical commonalties and the differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic. It is the first book to integrate polar studies of this nature with teaching and research on political geography and geopolitics. Based on the premise that geopolitical isolation of the polar regions stands substantially eroded today, the book argues that the contemporary polar scene should be approached and understood in terms of its broader regional as well as global context. It also argues that in the 21st century the two polar regions will be increasingly valued not only for their intrinsic polar merits, but also for their contribution to an understanding of global problems. A critical evaluation of the promise and the performance of the...

Living and Nonliving in the Polar Regions (Is It Living or Nonliving?)

Living and Nonliving in the Polar Regions (Is It Living or Nonliving?)
by Rebecca Rissman (Author)


How can you tell if something is living or nonliving in the polar regions? Children reading this book explore a stunning polar habitat while learning how to tell the difference between living and nonliving things, such as seals, fish, and icebergs. Headers in the form of questions help guide the reader as they learn the properties of living and nonliving things.

Antarctic: A Tribute to Life in the Polar Regions

Antarctic: A Tribute to Life in the Polar Regions
by Michael Poliza (Photographer), HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco (Photographer), David de Rothschild (Photographer), Stefan Schulze-Hausmann (Photographer)


Following his stunning photo-safari in Africa and an unprecedented helicopter voyage from Europe to Africa in Eyes Over Africa, the award-winning photographer has ventured to the polar regions. With his inimitable blend of intimate close-ups and cinematic landscapes, Poliza leads us through the magical worlds of these frozen paradises most threatened by global warming. Poliza shows polar bears as they frolicked among purple fireweed against the majestic Arctic backdrop, varied and multicolored icebergs, as well as a number of rare and endangered species. Poliza once again captures the most vulnerable treasures--still ensconced in our planet's few pristine landscapes.

Climate Change in the Polar Regions

Climate Change in the Polar Regions
by John Turner (Author), Gareth J. Marshall (Author)


The polar regions have experienced some remarkable environmental changes in recent decades, such as the Antarctic ozone hole, the loss of large amounts of sea ice from the Arctic Ocean and major warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. The polar regions are also predicted to warm more than any other region on Earth over the next century if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise. Yet trying to separate natural climate variability from anthropogenic factors still presents many problems. This book presents a thorough review of how the polar climates have changed over the last million years and sets recent changes within a long term perspective. The approach taken is highly cross-disciplinary and the close links between the atmosphere, ocean and ice at high latitudes are stressed. The...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com