Despite all the varying problems and threats we face as a society, climate change remains an inglorious constant. In this study, Professor Mirbabaie and Jonas Rieskamp conducted a study together with their colleagues at Darwin University, focusing on heat waves. Even though heat waves have devasting impacts on human health and well-being, studies are rare and often confined to specific locations. Therefore, this study explores conversations on social media to examine users’ feelings and reactions to heat waves. Based on global Twitter data (from January to April 2022), the authors identified five topics concerning heat haves: Sports events (34%), health impacts (20%), social impacts (16%), extreme weather and climate change attribution (17%), and perceptions and warning (13%). While the number of tweets corresponded well with major heat wave occurrences, ‘air-conditioning’ and ‘electricity’ were frequently used within the field of ‘social impacts’. Hence, people seem to be aware of the threat from heat and its impacts on society, while this also suggests a link between coping strategies and financial pressure. There is no evidence for widespread misinformation about climate change-related heat.
Zander, K. K., Rieskamp, J., Mirbabaie, M., Alazab, M., & Nguyen, D. (2023). Responses to heat waves: what can Twitter data tell us?