Climate Change

Global Warming

Could a sudden ice age like the one in the 2004 movie The Day after Tomorrow actually result from global warming?

No. That’s Hollywood. In the movie, a scientist predicts (correctly for the plot of the film, which provides a lot of opportunities for special effects) that all the fresh water melting into the oceans will cause the Gulf Stream to dissipate, and that this will lead to the sudden onset of a new ice age. New York City freezes over in a day, and bizarre storm cells cause people to turn into popsicles in seconds. Ridiculous, say experts, though they admit that ice caps melting will indeed cause many adverse effects, such as rising oceans and changes in weather patterns.

That said, it is interesting to note that ice ages can occur fairly quickly. Geologists and glaciologists estimate that some ice ages made significant advances through North America in spans ranging from a few decades to as little as three years.


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