People like warmth. When weather reporters on TV say, “It will be a great day,” they usually mean that it will be warmer than normal. The weather can, of course, be too warm, but that is unlikely to become a major problem if the globe warms. Even though it is far from certain that the temperature will rise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the U.N. body that has been studying this possibility for more than a decade) has forecast that, by the end of the next century, the world’s climate will be about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today and that precipitation worldwide will increase by about 7 percent.
The scientists who make up this body also predict that most of the warming will occur at night and during the winter. In fact, records show that, over this century, summer highs have actually declined while winter lows have gone up. In addition, temperatures are expected to increase the most towards the poles. Thus Minneapolis should enjoy more warming than Dallas; but even the Twin Cities should find that most of their temperature increase will occur during their coldest season, making their climate more livable.
Warmer winters will produce less ice and snow to torment drivers, facilitating commuting and making snow shoveling less of a chore. Families will have less need to invest in heavy parkas, bulky jackets, earmuffs and snow boots. Department of Energy studies have shown that a warmer climate would reduce heating bills more than it would boost outlays on air conditioning. If we currently enjoyed the weather predicted for the end of the next century, expenditures for heating and cooling would be cut by about $12.2 billion annually.