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The Day After Tomorrow - Review (and the Greenhouse effect)

 First the movie: Fantastic special effects! I did really enjoy seeing New York destroyed, again! The LA scenes were well done as well. The biggest problem I kept thinking towards the end, was why is the father trekking into the city?! And how on earth do you move 100 million people into Mexico in 1 day?! Thou the trekking part was mint to be the emotional aspect of the son actually being able to rely on the farther for a change, but I just didn't feel it.

Scientifically, I think the basic facts are actually correct. The biggest flaw in the movie is the speed which it all happened in, over a period of a few days!

The Greenhouse Effect

The movie is brilliant at opening up discussion on the greenhouse effect, even if it doesn't strictly stick to the facts. Although, the slowing of sea currents is a possible effect of global warming, and would create extreme weather.

Realistically changes would take a few years, not days. Even though that still seems fast, some scientists agree that once you reach a critical point, changes in the earth's climate can occur very quickly.

I myself have been umming and arring about the greenhouse effect theory. Checking geological samples, you can see changes in the climate in the past, and how it occurs in cycles. Technically, the earth is still on the tail end of an ice age (as there is still open ice at both of the poles), and you would be expecting it to continue to get warmer, as we move out of our current ice age. Thus, is the greenhouse effect not actually caused by anything we are doing to the planet, but a natural progression of the cycle?

Seems reasonable, until you start doing some of the maths, and since the industrial revolution, when we started burning coal in quantities, the rate of change of the earth's temperature has increased beyond the increase we would expect from the natural cycle of the planet! Although not everyone agrees on this, after reading up on it, I now believe this is so.

Effects of global warming are not just getting hotter, but also:

- Heat waves, droughts, less snow on mountains.
- Increased evaporation and precipitation due to the higher energy of the atmosphere, which will result in more frequent and extreme weather events.  
-Sea levels will go on raising, flooding low lying areas, and causing major problems on some islands in the south pacific.

The Kyoto Protocol is a great step for countries to slow down our changes to the earth's atmosphere. But unfortunately, the US refuses to ratify it! With the US being the largest contributor to greenhouse gases, this is a huge disappointment. The US also has one of the strongest economies, can it not spend money on trying to reduce problems? Instead of running around like the worlds sheriff, basically to ensure they can continue to get cheap oil in the future?

As stated in the movie, the costs of not trying to prevent massive climate change, would be much higher than trying.

I haven't provided any links, but a search on Google on 'greenhouse effect' or 'global warming' will keep you reading for days.

This is a fascinating subject, it's a shame it could have such dramatic effects, for us, or our children.

 

Posted on Friday, 18 June 2004 11:58 a.m.

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