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Panganiban, Roman Cyril A.

2008 03955

MS 1 WFU
January 4, 2012

The film, The Day After Tomorrow depicts a world where global warming triggers an abrupt
climate change which then results to extreme changes in the weather and climate like a global
super storm that unleashes unimaginable worldwide weather disasters. In the span of just a few
days, tornados devastate Los Angeles, huge hail pounds Tokyo, and colossal tsunamis and
blizzards whip New York. The question is if the said events can really happen?
In the movie, the Gulf Stream referred to as the "ocean conveyor belt, which is a system of
currents that flows around the oceans of the world and carries heat from the tropics to the
northern latitudes and influences the climates of North America and Europe, is disrupted and
abruptly stops flowing due to the melting of the polar ice caps and an influx of large volumes of
fresh water into the oceans. Since the Gulf Stream brings warm water from the tropics past the
North American continent, then continues in a circular pattern across the Atlantic towards
Western Europe, the climates of these continents are influenced by this warm water current. The
disruption in the Gulf Stream circulation pattern results in a severe global deep freeze. There is
evidence that the North Atlantic branch of the current has failed in the distant past8,200 and
12,700 years agocausing a great cooling of the climate.
Earth as we know is currently experiencing global warming because of the emission of
greenhouse gases that are trapped in the Earth's atmosphere and acts like a blanket, preventing
outgoing terrestrial radiation from escaping back into space. Average air temperatures rise and
the secondary effect is an increase water temperature that may be the reason for temperatures are
to drastically change. According to scientists, climate change, the abrupt one, happens five or ten
years up to a century but in the movie, events were compressed to a couple of days to weeks. Yes
it can happen, but not over several days as depicted in the movie. According to what Ive learned
from a variety of Science classes since high school, Ice Ages do not occur overnight. Climate
change had occurred a couple of times over the last 13,000 years but not in a few days time.
Over geologic time Earth has gone through several ice ages followed by inter-glacial warming

periods. One possible cause of major periods of glaciation is a change in the tilt of Earth's axis
causing a corresponding change in the intensity and location of sun insolation. A complete
shutdown of the Gulf Stream is said to be possible and is believed to have happened in the past
but it is not expected to occur in the near future. As Ive researched, it would require a 9F (5C)
average global temperature increase to create all the conditions necessary for a complete
stoppage of this ocean current.
Possible or not, the movie lets us understand that climate change is indeed happening now. It's
affecting everyone on the planet, and it will inevitably affect the next of our generations. We
have to do everything we can do to ensure that the world would be wonderful and pleasant and
not a place wherein people leave in the shadows of fear and what would be happening next.
References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_After_Tomorrow
http://geolor.com/The_Day_After_Tomorrow_Movie.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_of_thermohaline_circulation
http://www.wunderground.com/resources/education/thedayafter.asp?MR=1
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0527_040527_DayAfter_2.
html