Public engagement with climate imagery in a changing digital landscape

Susie Wang, Adam Corner, Daniel Chapman, Ezra Markowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Despite extensive exploration into the use of language in climate change communication, our understanding of the use of visual images, and how they relate to public perceptions of climate change, is less developed. A limited set of images have come to represent climate change, but rapid changes in the digital landscape, in the way media and information are created, conveyed, and consumed has changed the way climate change is visualized. We review the use of climate imagery in digital media (news and social media, art, video and visualizations), and synthesize public perceptions research on factors that are important for engaging with climate imagery. We then compare how key research findings and recommendations align with the practical strategies of campaigners and communicators, highlighting opportunities for greater congruence. Finally, we outline key challenges and recommendations for future directions in research. The increasingly image-focused digital landscape signals that images of climate change have a pivotal role in building public engagement, both now, and in future. A better understanding of how these images are being used and understood by the public is crucial for communicating climate change in an engaging way. This article is categorized under: Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Perceptions of Climate Change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere509
Number of pages18
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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