How Global Warming Could Cause an Ice Age
Or：What scientific knowledge do we learn from the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow”？ Wang Yao-Wei （Daniel）
March 10, 2006
What is global warming? This is a very popular issue all over the world. In order to learn more about global warming, we should go through what makes the earth warm and how warming affects the earth. The first thing we need to be familiar with is the greenhouse effect. It plays an important part in controlling the earth temperature. Thus, we need to know how the greenhouse effect is to know how it could affect the earth. Global warming and greenhouse effect：
The greenhouse effects is caused when surface and atmosphere absorb the sun’s short-wave radiation then release it as long-wave radiation to the atmosphere and the surface. That means the greenhouse effect gases are in the air and they affect the radiation. Because of the greenhouse effect gases, the atmosphere absorbs the infrared radiation and reflects them to the surface. So at the surface, the surface absorbs the infrared radiation and emits it back to the atmosphere. According to this kind of process, the amount of the radiation that the atmosphere absorbs is more than it releases. Hence, the earth becomes warmer. We could be experiencing this “greenhouse effect.” The percentage of greenhouse effect gases only totals 1%. They include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), water (H2O) and ozone (O3). Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by using the fossil fuels, this kind of greenhouse effect gas enters into the atmosphere in a big number. And carbon dioxide will absorb the radiation reflected from the surface. Next we will talk about the two most important issues that are occurred by the greenhouse effect. The first one is the changing of the climate. Global warming is the main cause. From their article, Titus, et. al. (1987). They said that the greenhouse effect will make the earth’s temperature rise. They also said the rates of climate change are about 15 to 40 times faster than ever before. On average, the earth’s temperature will raise 3℃ every hundred years. To put it simply, the climate that we know now would be very different in the future. It will become warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. The second thing is the rising sea level. Common sense, tell us that because of the global warming, the ice from the South Pole and North Pole will melt. And this is definitely occurring right now. The increasing temperature of both poles may melt the ice from the lands and the mountains and make the sea level rise about 0.2 to 1.4 meters. Many cities will be flooded by the rising sea level. Now that we have some basic scientific knowledge about global warming and how it affects the, now we can consider the scenario presented in the movie “The Day After tomorrow”. Do we still have the day after tomorrow? This is what I want to talk about in the next paragraph. In the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, we see that the land was covered by ice and the earth enters the next ice age early. I want to focus on this part’s, how global warming could cause an ice age. Will the climate change so fast that human beings cannot predict？We will know after talking about this. The movie mentioned that the big climate change is due to the extreme variation of the North Atlantic Ocean current. And this is the question. How can the ocean current affect the climate? It should be global warming, right？ In fact, it is global warming. But global warming is the background of the climate change. So I could tell that the ocean currents have their own direction to flow. Although the surface of the sea we see is clam, there are lots of differences under the seas. The flow of the water depends on its mass. Its density, temperature, and concentration will...