Climate change movie not exactly rocket science

Next month, a nifty little movie called The Day After Tomorrow will arrive in theatres. It looks like your standard Hollywood action-adventure fare, but at least the premise is interesting. It follows what could happen if the Earth’s climate abruptly shifted, causing chaos worldwide.

While the movie is based on a real phenomenon – abrupt climate change – it is very much a work of fiction. It’s a disaster film, and has no more grounding in reality than the director’s last big movie, Independence Day, in which aliens invaded the earth.

The theory behind abrupt climate change goes like this: if the North Atlantic portion of the world’s great ocean current slowed down or stopped, warm water from the tropics might not make it up to Europe. And since that warm current is largely responsible for mild temperatures in Western Europe, its loss could cause temperatures in the region to plunge, along with a host of other altered weather patterns around the world, such as droughts in North America.

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