Winter 2015-2016 temperature differences from average over globe. (NOAA)

Earth has witnessed its warmest two years on record, 2015 and 2014, over the last two years. At the same time, peer-reviewed studies have piled up demonstrating man’s influence on our climate.

Meteorologists, who keep their hands on the pulse of what’s happening to the atmosphere, are taking notice.  While some, by their nature, are cautious about emerging scientific ideas and theories, new survey data reveal almost unanimous agreement that the climate is changing and a huge majority support the view that human activities are largely behind it.

According to a January survey from George Mason University released today, more than 95 percent of meteorologists think climate change is happening and more than 80 percent of them estimate human activities are at least half-responsible (more than two-thirds “mostly” responsible).

(George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 2016)

Seventeen percent of respondents to the survey said their views about climate change had changed over the past five years and, of those, most (87 percent) said they are more convinced than ever that human-caused changes are happening. They were most persuaded by new peer-reviewed studies, the growing scientific consensus on climate change, and evidence of climate change where they live.

“[I]t does appear that more meteorologists are now more convinced that human-caused climate change is happening,” said Ed Maibach, lead author of the survey findings and director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “That is exactly what one would expect, of course, given the trajectory of our changing climate and the ever increasing of the science.”

(George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 2016)

Meteorologists who participated in the survey held diverse views about how effective mitigation efforts, such as efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, would be in reducing future climate change.

“Only 18 percent of survey respondents feel that additional climate change is largely preventable over the next 50 years,” Maibach said. “To me, this finding reinforces the importance of taking adaption actions, so that people and communities aren’t needlessly harmed.”