Although scientists agree that climate change is anthropogenic, differing interpretations of evidence in a highly polarized sociopolitical environment impact how individuals perceive climate change. While prior work suggests that individuals experience climate change through local conditions, there is a lack of consensus on how personal experience with extreme precipitation may alter public opinion on climate change. We combine high-resolution precipitation data at the zip-code level with nationally representative public opinion survey results (
Public acceptance for anthropogenic climate change is hindered by how related issues are presented, diverse value systems, and information-processing biases. Personal experiences with extreme weather may act as a salient cue that impacts individuals’ perceptions of climate change. We couple a large, nationally representative public opinion dataset with station precipitation data at the zip-code level in the United States. Results are nuanced but suggest that anomalous and variable precipitation in a local area may be interpreted as evidence for anthropogenic climate change. So, relating atypical local precipitation conditions to climate change may help tap into individuals’ experiential processing, sidestep polarization, and tailor communications at the local level.