A new report by scientists indicates that "The Day After Tomorrow," a film released 11 years ago, may accurately depict the future due to climate change.
Science fiction movies don’t generally have a good track record with scientists, but “The Day After Tomorrow” is an exception.
The 2004 film contained scenes of New York City totally frozen over and a series of storms and other natural disasters — a premise that was mocked by scientists when it was released but is now being held up as an accurate depiction of our future, according to a TomDispatch report.
New reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that these fantastical depictions of apocalyptic conditions may be not so far from the truth due to the growing impact of climate change and the resulting global warming.
For years, scientists believed that the changes in climate would be linear — i.e., gradual every single year. But now they think there may be some “non-liner” shifts in climate, or tipping points, when there would be a sudden change in the climate that would be catastrophic to humanity.
It was this fear that the 2004 film was based on, and 11 years later scientists are starting to see such tipping points, suggesting there may be early indicators that such catastrophes will take place.
In “The Day After Tomorrow,” there is a pivotal event: the disruption of the North Atlantic Current, a deep-sea current that carries warm water from the Caribbean to the northern parts of the Atlantic, keeping Europe relatively warm. This process allows the Gulf Stream to bring warmer waters to the eastern United States as well. If it were disrupted, it could suddenly create a colder Euro-Atlantic climate, and it could lead to the formation of tremendous storms.
Could this happen? Scientists say it’s possible that the huge Greenland ice sheet, if it melts significantly, could do just that by dumping lots of fresh water into the ocean, creating a situation where the warm salty water can’t sink to the bottom and return to the Caribbean and thus stopping this “global conveyer belt.”
This shutdown hasn’t happened yet, but scientists do see it slowing down and should there be a rapid increase in the Greenland ice sheet melting, it could represent a tipping point that would have big consequences for both Europe and North America.