Veronica Iordanova remembers Octobers growing up in Arizona when it was too cold to trick-or-treat in a short-sleeved Halloween costume. She can’t imagine that anymore.

The summer heat lasts longer and feels more intense now, and she knows that is a result of human-caused global warming. She worries about her and her family’s future.

“We need to realistically look at the situation and realize it’s not going to get better,” said Iordanova, who lives in Tempe.

Across the U.S., many people are living through one of the most brutal summers of their lives. And some psychologists believe the attention on a cascade of record-shattering heat, wildfire smoke, extreme flooding and Jacuzzi-hot ocean water could be “another turning point” in efforts to raise awareness about the everyday impact of climate change, as Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald put it. That’s a crucial step to prompt collective action on global warming.

. . .

Sometimes personal experiences end up being a more compelling measure than peer-reviewed research.

“Back then I was like, oh, my gosh, you know, climate change, that’s horrible,” said Paul Bowyer, who grew up in Arizona and now alternates his time between Northern California and Costa Rica. He said that he used to be interested in the messages coming from political figures like Al Gore, but over time, the urgency faded away and left him feeling like he hadn’t seen too much difference in the weather.

“The thing is, nothing has changed,” he said. Though he acknowledged that this year brought the worst snowstorm he’s ever seen after years of drought — 5 feet of snow on his deck was “not normal,” he said — he interpreted that as an act of Mother Nature to “replenish” things rather than as anything too concerning.

Still, some researchers think as more people experience extreme weather, more will change their minds in the opposite direction of Bowyer. Leiserowitz pointed out that extreme heat is powerful because it’s easier to connect with the concept of “global warming,” even though that warming also contributes to less intuitively-connected events like stronger hurricanes, more intense rainfall and other wacky weather.

And highly visible events in places where they’re not normally expected — like heat waves in places without air conditioning infrastructure, or wildfire smoke on the East Coast and in the Midwest — can be more noticeable to people. When threatened by natural disasters, “even for people who aren’t willing to call it climate change, they’re willing to say like, ‘there’s a problem and I want to protect my home,’” said Kaitlin Raimi, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Michigan who teaches a course on the psychology of climate change.

Read the complete article in Associated Press