Climate Change: 'The Day After Tomorrow' Film Becomes A Reality? Effects Of Global Warming Leave Oceans Unreliable

First Posted: Jan 06, 2017 04:10 AM EST

Climate change affects the ocean to be unreliable. A new study suggests that one of the world's largest ocean circulations may not be as stable, as predicted by today's weather models.

The research paper on climate change published in the Journal Science Advances on Jan. 4 suggested that, "In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) -- the same deep-water ocean currently featured in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" -- could occur quite abruptly, in geologic terms."

The study lead author, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Geology and Geographics at the University of Yale, Wei Liu, said that, "We show that the possibility of a collapsed AMOC under global warming. It is hugely underestimated."

Yale News reported that the oceanic heat, northward in the Atlantic Ocean, is carried by AMOC. It consists of a lower limb of colder, denser, cold water that flows south. The upper limb is composed of salty, warm water that flows north.

The system plays a major role in regional climate change. It would affect the Atlantic rim countries, notably those in Europe.

Wei Liu added that in the current models, AMOC is systematically biased to be in a stable regime. A bias-corrected model predicts a future AMOC collapse with prominent cooling over the northern North Atlantic and neighboring areas. This has enormous implications for regional and global climate change.

The model made by Wei Liu shows that if the AMOC system collapses, it would cool the Northern Atlantic Ocean. It will then cause the spreading of Arctic sea ice and move to the tropical Atlantic rain belts farther south, according to

In line with this, in the fictional plot of The Day After Tomorrow, the calamity is not indicated. However, the experts said that the weather that significantly changes could occur so quickly in the next few centuries.

The study co-author and a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Climatic Research in the Nelson Institute, Zhengyu Liu, said that, "It's a very provocative idea. For me, it's an 180-degree turn because I had been thinking like everyone else."

The researchers indicated that their new model may require additional adjustments. They said that the detailed information about ocean temperature water salinity and the melting ice is important to the accuracy of the AMOC models.

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