2004’s disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow” may seem like Hollywood science fiction, but some of the events in that movie are not as far-fetched as once thought.
Researchers in the United Kingdom say that if global warming causes ocean currents worldwide to collapse, the giant tsunami depicted in the film could actually happen. Professor Sybren Drijfhout, from the University of South Hampton, claimed that a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (or AMOC) is possible if the Earth continues to warm up.
Drijfhout also reported that if global warming coincided with the collapse of the AMOC in about 20 years, the Earth would actually begin to cool. The average global temperatures would fall by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The Earth would then begin to heal itself.
“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,” Drijfhout said.
The atmosphere cools due to AMOC as a result of the heat from the Earth’s atmosphere flowing to the oceans. AMOC is not the only phenomena that causes global cooling. El Niño has also caused a reduction in warming.
Dr. Drijfhout has been quoted by Science Daily to explain global heat flow and the reversal of such. In the article, Drijfhout explained how volcanic eruptions or changes in greenhouse emissions can cause a similar phenomena of energy flow in the Earth’s atmosphere.
While it is a possibility, there is still much speculation as to whether or not something such a drastic event will actually happen in the next century.