11.30.2005 | The real-life 'Day After Tomorrow'
For those of you who didn't see the 2004 movie, The Day After Tomorrow is a dramatic fictional account of what might happen if global warming causes the Gulf Stream current, which carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic, ever to fail. In such a scenario, the world enters a second ice age because the warm water that had kept the North Atlantic climate moderate gives way to the cold arctic. Some have dismissed the notion as science fiction, and it may be, but scientists have now found that the waters of the Gulf Stream current have slowed by about 30 percent, leading us down a path of unknown consequences. (And yes, this is due to global warming that is happening, but the Bush administration continues to refuse to do anything about.)
Critics have said that average temperatures in Europe have gone up, but the increase can be attributed to overall global warming due to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the UK, whose climate is most directly affected by the Gulf Stream, has just had an unseasonably cold winter. The misnomer of "global warming" makes people forget that climate change can cause not just warmer average temperatures, but greater extremes between the temperatures. As the average temperature increases, the extremes will increase as well.