'Global Cooling' Scenario Not So Far-Fetched

Scientist evaluates a Hollywood disaster movie
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2015 3:10 PM CDT
The Day After Tomorrow Not So Weird After All
An image from the 2004 disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow."   (Movie Web)

The 2004 disaster film The Day After Tomorrow depicted a world devastated by climate change—including tornadoes, flooding, and, surprisingly, a modern ice age that freezes the Northern Hemisphere. All Hollywood exaggeration, right? Scientists said so at the time, but now a professor has run the film's basic theory through a respected climate model and produced interesting results, says Science World Report. In the movie, a major northward current in the Atlantic Ocean collapses and spawns environmental havoc. And while the collapse of this current—called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulations (AMOC)—is unlikely, it would apparently cause global cooling, even if global warming continues at its current rate.

This according to Sybren Drijfhout, a professor from England who ran the idea through the "the Max-Planck Institute's state-of-the-art climate model," Tech Times reports. Seems a 20-year collapse of AMOC would cause global cooling, at least for a while: "The planet Earth recovers from the AMOC collapse in about 40 years when global warming continues at present-day rates, but near the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic (including the British Isles) it takes more than a century before temperature is back to normal," he says, per a press release. Published in Scientific Reports, Drijfhout's study describes heat flow between the ocean and the atmosphere, which some have used to explain the recent "climate hiatus" or relative reduction in global warming temperatures. (Yet "off the chart" temperatures are still breaking records worldwide.)

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