The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the earth’s climate is changing rapidly, and that human activity is largely responsible. However, a significant percentage of the population remains skeptical, due in large part to misinformation and political polarization of the topic. This in itself makes it especially challenging to improve climate science literacy. The challenge increases in the Southeast United States, where a “warming hole” experienced significant cooling beginning in the late 1950’s while the rest of the world was warming. Temperature data from the Northwest Alabama Regional Weather Station since 1940, as well as average temperatures for Alabama since 1895, demonstrate the presence of this warming hole. Climate system drivers are complex; however, by addressing this complexity and encouraging exploration into the causation of anomalous evidence on a regional scale, it is easier to explain the broader patterns and implications of global climate change.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Special thanks to Dr. Gary Padgett at the University of North Alabama and Dr. Mark Puckett at the University of Southern Mississippi who reviewed the manuscript. And thanks UNA students to Seth Callahan and Grace Cobb for assistance with data collection.
Buckley, G. A., & Moore-Driskell, M. M. (2019). Challenges in Teaching Climate Science Literacy in Alabama, Part I: Climate Change and the Southeast U.S. Warming Hole. Journal of Sustainability Studies, 2 (1). Retrieved from https://ir.una.edu/sustainabilityjournal/vol2/iss1/1