Climate FAQs: Climate FAQs: Global Warming
Could global warming be beneficial?
Surface temperature warming has occurred in all seasons and over much of the globe, but not uniformly. Climate models used to project future climate indicate that the largest temperature increases will occur over land relative to oceans, with the greatest warming at high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter and spring seasons - much like the pattern we have observed over recent decades.
Modest warming will have both positive and negative impacts. A modest increase in global temperatures could increase agricultural productivity in some areas by, for instance, lengthening the growing season. But in high latitude regions, where the warming is expected to be greatest, there is already strong evidence to suggest the current warming is having strong negative impacts, such as severe coastal erosion due to retreating sea ice, increasing sea level, and thawing of coastal permafrost. The thawing of tundra is having negative impacts on buildings, roads, and industry. Higher global sea levels associated with warmer ocean temperatures mean that storm surges associated with hurricanes will be more destructive. Moreover, the rate of future warming as projected exceeds anything seen in nature in the past 10,000 years.