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Lady of the Land
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Day After Tomorrow


The movie was on TV the other day, so I thought I might as well watch it. People talked about it a lot, so I wanted to see how it really was.

Okay, the science is rather silly, with a kernel of truth, as so often happens. Yeah, the ocean current in the North Atlantic is important for Earth, but it certainly won't stop from one day to the other. Latest science tells us that it's not even slowing down perceptably. As European, I do have a certain interest in it, after all. emoticon

Anyway. I enjoyed the story and the special effects. As movie, it worked for me. It was entertaining while somewhat predictable as well. (I like that to a certain degree.) Of course, there is lots to nitpick, too. *grins*

It's a good enough movie for a fun evening - but it certainly doesn't work as prophecy for our near future.

 emoticon

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- Firlefanz

Reading: "Tabula Rasa", SF Anthology
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3/21/2007, 8:19 am Link to this post Email Firlefanz   PM Firlefanz Blog
 
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


I think that's almost exactly how I would have reviewed it emoticon


A book I think you might enjoy is The Sixth Winter, co-written by novellist Douglas Orgill and climatologist John Gribbin. But it's at least 25 years old and possibly out of print.

The premise is very similar to The Day After Tomorrow -- sudden temperature inversions cause the next ice age to start a lot quicker than anyone was expecting. But in comparison with the film, it has a lot less action and a lot more thoughtful discussion of the science. Oh, and the wolves behave a lot more realistically emoticon

The science of The Sixth Winter is based on a real (though probably discredited) theory by Russian climatologists, and Gribbon is obviously enough of an expert to treat it believeably. I'm convinced The Day After Tomorrow was heavily... um... "inspired" by the novel.



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3/21/2007, 10:38 am Link to this post Email David Meadows   PM David Meadows
 
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


quote:

David Meadows wrote:
I'm convinced The Day After Tomorrow was heavily... um... "inspired" by the novel.




Hehe, I wouldn't be surprised. Inspiration for movies has to come from somewhere, and I doubt it's always the sole imagination of a script writer.

I agree, those wolves were dreadful. It was silly to put them on the ship when there were so many corpses to live on, too. emoticon

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- Firlefanz

Reading: "Tabula Rasa", SF Anthology
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


The gulf stream (warm water current which flows up across the eastern US and warms northern Europe) is not likely to behave that way. It is warmed at the equator and the ocean currents are dependent on the convection of the inner workings of the earth (the mantle, magma, etc) and the earth's spin and orbit. So neither warmth or current are likely to just stop dead.

That however is not the only thing that could send us into an Ice Age. We are already a little over due for one as it is, and they always follow a period of brief "global warming". It could happen suddenly though. Suddenly being weeks, not days or hours. My geography professor said that while that movie got many things wrong, the actual effects were fairly realistic, if a bit sped up.

I have not yet seen the movie, but as I am studying about geography and earth processes, I think it might not be a bad idea. emoticon

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Re: Day After Tomorrow


Most people don't know this, but the current period before the next ice age is an unusual one slated to last several tens of thousands of years, instead of the normal ten thousand. That is why the coming ice age seems a bit late, of course with all this CO2 we are kicking into the atmosphere the next ice age might become considerably longer delayed yet, depending on what happens with Greenland.
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


Yeah, all that melt-water coming off Greenland might have a bad effect on the gulf stream.

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- Firlefanz

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Re: Day After Tomorrow


How much *extra* melt water is coming off Greenland? Compared with normal annual melting, I mean.

The Arctic ice cap shrinks massively every summer. Thousands of square kilometres of ice turn into water. And the Gulf Stream keeps right on going. Compared with that, a few extra cubic metres of Greenland glacier every year is like adding a single drop to a bucket. I don't feel very worried, personally emoticon



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Re: Day After Tomorrow


I don't think it matters much just yet.

However, there was a certain incidence around 28,000 BC, or there-abouts, when a huge melt-water lake in Canada breached the natural dam and emptied through the Hudson valley. It stopped the gulf stream that had just begun to pick up again, and postponed the end of the ice-age by about 10,000 years.

It might take a sudden influx like that, and maybe even that wouldn't be enough to stop the gulf stream as it is now. There is still much debate, obviously. Recent consensus seems to be, however, that we don't need to be afraid for the next 100 years or so, and maybe never.

  emoticon

(Hey, I live close to GEOMAR, after all!)

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- Firlefanz

Reading: "Tabula Rasa", SF Anthology
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


I liked all the tornadoes in LA. Thought that was really [sign in to see URL] long as it doesn't really happen in our lifetime.

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4/5/2007, 1:17 pm Link to this post Email bvr   PM bvr AIM MSN Yahoo
 
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Re: Day After Tomorrow


quote:

bvr wrote:
...as long as it doesn't really happen in our lifetime.



Ha!

Unfortunately most people are of that mind set, even in the s ientific community. They are only just barely putting measures into effect and doing studies on how to reverse/fix/lessen the human impact on the environment with regard to this issue. It has been brought up a couple of times in the last 50 years but only in the last 10 or so are they beginning to take it seriously :P

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Re: Day After Tomorrow


Honestly, I really doubt such a series of tornadoes is realistic. They may get them in California, but not like that. emoticon

It's true that there have been more tornadoes in Germany in recent years, though. Seems that thunderstorms are gaining in power - which is what scienctists predict.

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Reythia Profile
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For the record, I work on an Earth-orbiting satelite project that (among other things) is used to measure the changing mass of the glaciers, ice caps, and overall water levels of the planet. So realize that I'm extremely biased, but also that I've seen (and worked with) evidence to support my beliefs.

quote:

Firlefanz wrote:
There was a certain incidence around 28,000 BC, or there-abouts, when a huge melt-water lake in Canada breached the natural dam and emptied through the Hudson valley. It stopped the gulf stream that had just begun to pick up again, and postponed the end of the ice-age by about 10,000 years.



I haven't heard about this particular event, but I'm willing to trust you on the details. Certainly it's reasonable.

One thing that most people don't realize is that a similar thing is happening today, but down in Antarctica. Up to about 200-300 years ago (not millions of years ago, mind you, just a few centuries) the Kamb icestream in western Antarctica was flowing happily down towards the ocean with all of the other icestreams/glaciers. Then for some reason (which scientists are currently studying and which probably has to do with the impact of meltwater and ground topography), the Kamb icestream stopped moving. For 200 years or so, it hasn't moved.

This is a good thing, since about when it stopped, the industrial revolution began and global temperatures (of air and ocean water) started increasing exponentially. Right now the Kamb icestream is basically acting like a dam, keeping a whole lot of ice frozen on the Antarctic continent instead of flowing (at a few horizontal meters/year) into the ocean. Imagine now, what will happen when the pressure builds up enough behind Kamb and the "dam" breaks. Notable sea level rise, yes, but also an themal and saline upset of the antarctic circumpolar current -- which transports more water at any given time than the better-known Gulf Stream. And of course, that water will eventually mix with more northernly water, upseting the biology (which require certain temperatures and levels of salinity, etc) and global current flow (which is powered by temperature and density -- ie: salinity -- gradients and can have major effects even on land -- think 'El Nino').

Point is, just because it's not happening in your neighborhood doesn't mean you can ignore climate change events -- whether they're human-made or natural, as the Kamb icestream example may be.

quote:

David Meadows wrote:The Arctic ice cap shrinks massively every summer. Thousands of square kilometres of ice turn into water. And the Gulf Stream keeps right on going. Compared with that, a few extra cubic metres of Greenland glacier every year is like adding a single drop to a bucket. I don't feel very worried, personally.



For the record, I HATED "Day After Tomorrow" because it was so unrealistic about many things, including the time scales required for such drastic change to happen. No, you're probably right -- we're not going to end up swamped within our lifetimes. But within our lifetimes, I think we will see (in fact, are seeing now) the destruction of oceanic ecosystems, the extinction of arctic wildlife, and a drastic shift in the temperature and density profiles of the world's oceans. None of these will kill us directly, but none of them are good either. I think we would be fools to ignore the warning signs just because they won't kill us TODAY.

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I think Firlefanz timescale is off a bit, the event she describes sounds very similar to what I believe is the expected cause of the Younger Dryas, but that was only some 10k+ years ago I believe. The issue of the thousands of square kilometer ice melting at the North Pole noted by David sadly doesn't really matter either, the gulf stream doesn't get that far north so salinity changes there matter nothing, however it does pass Greenland. Of course it isn't going to die for some trivial little ice flow, even when we are expressing them I believe at the moment in excess of 300+ cubical kilometer per year at minimum. (Technically this is just the netto ice loss of Greenland, so what you get after snowfall and loss by for instance glacier flow. Which probably means it would be a significantly large amount yet) However Greenland might be able to form a lake as well, how large it would be, how long it would take to form and whether it would break through on the side of the Gulf Stream I do not know, probably no one does.

I'm afraid I have little clue about the Kamb icestream though, will it really be large enough if it suddenly starts moving again to interrupt the circumpolar stream? I mean, that is probably the most persistent oceanic current since it managed to force the Drake passage, its circumpolar nature would also imply it isn't really as affected by loss of sinking water, or would it be? I'm afraid I'm fairly weak with the facets around Antarctica.
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quote:

QS2 wrote:
I'm afraid I have little clue about the Kamb icestream though, will it really be large enough if it suddenly starts moving again to interrupt the circumpolar stream? I mean, that is probably the most persistent oceanic current since it managed to force the Drake passage, its circumpolar nature would also imply it isn't really as affected by loss of sinking water, or would it be? I'm afraid I'm fairly weak with the facets around Antarctica.



By itself, no, probably not. I listed it merely as an example of how some climate-related things can stop -- and start -- suddenly, even within our lifetimes. However the entire Amundsen (Amundson?) Bay area in western Antarctica is currently draining at rates scientists thought were impossible only 20 years ago. Altogether, it is not a pretty picture. You're right, the ACC is quite stable... and yet it's surrounding a continent that is rapidly changing in ways that we do not fully understand. Even as stable a system as the ACC will eventually respond to large perturbing forces -- and right now, we have no idea what it's response would be.

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Re: Day After Tomorrow


Reythia,

thanks for the input. I'm glad you don't hesitate to talk about what you know - it's great to be able to look at more facts.

What you describe in the Antartic is indeed rather disturbing. And you are right, just because it is far away, doesn't mean it won't affect us. A Kamb that starts slipping might well mean higher sea levels in a rather short time, and that's not a pretty picture.

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Precisely.

And by the way, guys, if I start to get preachy on anything like this, don't hestitate to just tell me to shut up and get back on topic! emoticon

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A second piece of scientific evidence for why we should be worried about global warming and related events:

]CNN Article about Ancient, Natural Global Warming

Basically, the article points out that back in prehistory, a bunch of volanos exploded and filled the atmosphere with ash, volcanic gases, and such. These had the effect of heating up the planet by an average of 5-degrees Celsius over ~200,000 years (short on the geologic timescale). This increase in heating (and also a decrease in average visual sunlight) killed off 30-50% of the world's deep-sea creatures.

The reason this is relevant today is that most environmental scientists predict a global temperature rise of about 2-5 degrees Celsius over the next 100-200 years due to (mostly)-human-created global warming. If a 5-degree change over hundreds of thousands of years can kill of 30-50% of sea creatures, what will a 2-5-degree change over a few HUNDRED years do?

There's no way of knowing, of course, but sticking our collective heads in the sand won't solve anything.

And with that, I shut up on the topic. Promise! Thank you all for your patience.

Rant Off.

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Ahh, that is the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum event, it was indeed already thought to likely be related to volcanic activity in the north Atlantic. Technically it wasn't really just the volcanoes though, it most likely also has to do with the carbon rich soils they vaporised in that area. The second to note about this is, is that the disruption period is a few hundred thousand years long, the initial warming was much faster. I'm not sure of the scale anymore, but it is probably less then ten thousand years and maybe even shorter than a millennium, so it is a fairly comparable event and due to much the same reasons. (release of massive amounts of carbondioxide into our atmosphere)

All in all it is really a quite interesting event, total carbon release was somewhat equivalent to unleashing all carbon reserves available on the land (soil/plants etc, but not in the bedrock) and just dumping them all into the atmosphere, CO2 concentrations made a swing upwards that completely dwarfs the current one by several factors. It should be also noted that the poles weren't frozen in that era, so there wasn't any cheap warming chances at the poles to be gained, but with such a massive gain in CO2 it just didn't matter anymore, poles went tropical temporarily and the oceans, well those got wrecked, most of the biomass in it got converted to a single genus I believe, or perhaps singular species, I can't recall anymore I'm afraid.

As such inducing a PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) like event should be I think be considered a worst case scenario, something that should most definitely be avoided.

An interesting twist from research in this event also noted there are a series of smaller similar like events that occur every so now and then, usually spaced some millions of years apart I believe. These events all had smaller shifts and subsequently recovered more quickly and had less deleterious effects to our biosphere, the only bad news in all of this is really that none of these happened in an ice age, where mass warming on the poles has massive positive feedback effects.
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quote:

QS2 wrote:
The second to note about this is, is that the disruption period is a few hundred thousand years long, the initial warming was much faster. I'm not sure of the scale anymore, but it is probably less then ten thousand years and maybe even shorter than a millennium.


Okay, thank you! That had bothered me when I read it -- after all, massive volcanic eruptions should have pretty fast results! -- but since I don't have any knowledge on this particular matter, I just quoted the article. This makes me feel better.


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