Like clockwork, with the arrival of another calendar year comes the obligatory mix of conspiracy theories and last days prophecies. This year is no exception. However, a new climate change study says a warming planet could cause ocean currents to collapse. The resultant phenomenon would likely spark a deadly and end of the world Ice Age, according to the Washington Post.
Movie buffs can likely recall the 2004 Roland Emmerich-directed movie, The Day After Tomorrow, that starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Dennis Quaid, Ian Holm and others, according to IMDB.
Quaid’s character (Jack Hall) is a Paleoclimatologist who learns that a large section of ice from the Antarctica has broken off and will threaten land masses and cause widespread flooding. Later, Hall learns that the ice sheet is causing an undetected change in weather patterns that is behind freakish climate events all over the globe. The world soon realizes Earth is heading into an Ice Age that could mark the end of days.
— climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1) January 3, 2017
Although the film is based on fictitious events, experts say the events have the potential to happen — and will — unless something is done to prevent a catastrophic event for human life.
The culprit behind the ominous prediction: the greenhouse effect and global warming.
A growing body of science shows that the chief component of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses, namely, carbon dioxide emissions (from the burning of fossil fuels) levels, will double by the year 2100 to 700 ppm (or parts per million).
The EPA points to statistics in 2014 that show the naturally occurring gas made up 81 percent of emissions. Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego say that, if this trend continues, ocean currents can collapse by 2400.
Presumably, computer climate change models used in the past have lagged behind in the evidence. Current data shows the collapse of ocean circulation patterns has been “drastically” underestimated.
Zhengyu Liu is a co-author of the study. Liu said, “It’s a very provocative idea,” and the new revelation and implications are startling.
“For me, it’s a 180-degree turn because I had been thinking like everyone else.”
Study authors said the current “bias” in global warming models tend to distort the relative stability of the oceanic patterns, known in the scientific community as Atlantic Meridonial Overturning Circulation (or AMOC).
— Yale Environment 360 (@YaleE360) December 15, 2016
Researchers omitted the element of bias for a pragmatic look at the data. They found that the circulation of the oceans, under the current trajectory, would collapse at some point in the future. Consequently, the North Atlantic will experience a massive Ice Age.
To illustrate: The collapse of ocean currents would halt the AMOC. The system usually channels heated water in the direction of Greenland before it descends, takes on a cooling effect and heads back toward the equator.
Wei Liu, co-author and head of the study, weighed in on the “last days” scenario.
“The significance of our study is to point out a systematic bias in current climate models that hinders a correct climate projection.
“A bias-corrected model puts the AMOC in a realistic stability regime and predicts a future AMOC collapse with prominent cooling over the northern North Atlantic and neighboring areas.
“Our study has enormous implications for regional and global climate change.”
The science says that when carbon dioxide emissions double in volume, currents from oceans collapse about 300 years later. By then, the currents can come to a complete halt. The natural mixing and separation of salt and fresh waters are soon disrupted.
A series of catastrophic events would soon follow as the North Atlantic Ocean cools significantly. Artic sea ice would spread dramatically as temperatures plunge.
If the global community is depending on Donald Trump to roll back fossil fuel-dependent projects to save the world from and end of the world scenario, ostensibly, they should not hold their collective breaths. According to Vox’s Brad Plumer, the President-elect, a known climate change denier, who pledges to support the Dakota Access Pipeline, is a “disaster for the planet.” Therefore, alternate measures must be sought to sustain the planet.
“To halt global warming, we’ll need sweeping changes in virtually every corner of the economy — and fast. And few states are really doing that right now. The federal government was the natural locus for a “deep decarbonization” push, but Trump and the GOP Congress plan to neuter many of the key tools here. That’s the disaster, especially with so little time left to avoid 2°C of warming.”
Critics say Trump, a successful businessperson, has reason to deny science-backed claims of a warming planet. As the Guardian wrote, based on disclosure forms, Trump “has financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners,” the chief operator of the petroleum pipelines. Media sources also allege the CEO of the company, Kelcy Warren, gave nearly $170,000 to Trump and the Republican National Committee during his campaign for the presidency.
Do you believe in the last days prediction? Can the planet ward off another Ice Age from climate change threats?
[Featured image by lev radin/Shutterstock.com]