The Day After Tomorrow: Global Warming Not Enough To Stop Dawning Ice Age

Denzel Hammett

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) was a film that showed what would happen if climate change and global warming went unchecked. There is an ironic twist to the fate of Earth when it comes to global warming. A period of dramatic cooling could take effect as a result of global warming causing a chain of events beginning with the warming of the oceans and ending with disastrous consequences to humans, wildlife, and the habitability of much of the Earth's surface.

Approaching the situation from a new angle, researchers have determined that it would take 40 years to recover from the abrupt ice age depicted in the film The Day After Tomorrow. Global warming itself would be ended for at least 20 years. The mechanics of this are twofold: global warming and the sudden collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC).

Professor Sybren Drijfhout, who conducted the study, determined that some areas of Earth would be more affected than others. Parts of the British Isles would take up to a century to return to similar weather to now.

— Jennifer (@brownjenjen) October 11, 2015

The extent to which we should worry about the scenes depicted in the film, it is extreme compared to the predictions based on this cooling period. Although, the cooling would be dramatic, it would not involve the conversion of entire continents to arctic regions. However, arctic weather could be a regular feature as it was throughout the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Drijfhout calculates that recovery for the Earth could take at least two generations.

"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."

The fact that certain population live in these regions, such as the bulk of the United States, this would place large economies at risk and would create a situation, as depicted in the movie, of the day after tomorrow when, in a twist of fate, Americans must emigrate to Mexico.

Putting the drama of human devastation aside for a moment, if one agrees this should be avoided, then global warming should be stopped.

In fact, Professor Sybren Drijfhout conjectures that the natural forces which have counteracted human attributable global warming are likely to end soon, if they have not already.

The Day After Tomorrow website, set up to check the science of the film by the same name, explains what would happen in the worst case scenario.

— Overnewser - Nature (@natureovernewz) October 11, 2015

— (@Salon) October 9, 2015

"The timeframe for such an event would not be days or weeks but rather decades and the deep freeze would probably not reach Ice Age proportions."

[Images by Spencer Platt, Ian Walton, Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images]