More than half of Americans now believe that climate change caused by human activity is occurring, and 58% say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about it, according to a September poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

“After this crazy weather we’ve been having the last several years — Irene last year, Sandy this year, the drought, the fires, floods — it’s getting more and more difficult for people to deny what everybody sees with their own eyes,” said New York climate scientist Scott Mandia, coauthor of a book on the rising sea level. “I think people are starting to connect the dots.”…

Science policy analyst and University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr. disagrees. “I’m pretty sure by Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg and Sandy will probably be a back-page story,” said Pielke, author of “The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming.”

“The disaster du jour” doesn’t spark the kind of sustained political support necessary to foster action on climate change, he said. “Disasters are quite normal in general. To try and make the case to people that we have an unusual or large number is kind of a hard case to make.”