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This study explored how the use of the temperature scales Fahrenheit and Celsius in climate science communication affects climate change concern. The study specifically targeted Americans due to their familiarity with the Fahrenheit scale, which is not the primary temperature scale used in scientific communication. The study employed a survey, in which the anonymous participants read a short introduction about climate change and temperature rise and then answered a series of questions regarding levels of climate change concern. These questions covered concerns about climate change in general and its potential to harm individual survey participants, flora and fauna, future generations, and developing countries. Additional questions collected data on variables that might affect familiarity with the Celsius temperature scale such as the country in which they attended high school or their college major. The survey data did not reveal statistically significant results on whether temperature scale affects levels of concern about climate change; however, it did suggest temperature scale comprehension may affect perceptions of local harm. Age and academic discipline also may affect perceptions of risks related to climate change. Further research is needed on the topic; however, it should prioritize having a larger sample size and an emphasis on age group distribution.
Spaman, Chelsea, "Temperature Scale Influence on Perceptions of Climate Risk" (2021). Honors Theses. 3431.
Honors Thesis-Open Access