In real life, the scientists have determined that the fresh water pool is expanding and could lower the temperature of Europe by causing the ocean current to slow down. In the movie, the Gulf Stream shuts down altogether, unleashing an abrupt climate shift and the onset of the next Ice Age.The Gulf Stream does play a major role in keeping western Europe warmer during the winter months, as Norway experiences temperatures more than 40° F (22° C) warmer than the average for that latitude, one of the greatest temperature anomalies in the world. Southwestern England also experiences mild winters and can grow winter vegetables and flowers and even has the presence of subtropical vegetation and lemon trees in southern Devonshire.
The scientists used satellites to measure sea surface height from 1995 to 2010, scientists from University College London and Britain’s National Oceanography Center found that the western Arctic’s sea surface has risen by about 15 centimeters since 2002. Added to that is the volume of fresh water has increased by about 10 percent of all the fresh water in the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water comes from melting ice and river run-off.
The rise could be due to strong Arctic winds increasing an ocean current called the Beaufort Gyre, making the sea surface bulge upwards. The Beaufort Gyre is one of the least understood bodies of water on the planet. It is a slowly swirling body of ice and water north of Alaska, and it’s size is roughly 10 times bigger than Lake Michigan in the United States.
Some scientists believe the natural rhythms of the Beaufort Gyre could be affected by global warming, which could have serious implications for the ocean’s circulation and rising sea levels. Computer climate models have suggested that the wind blowing on the surface of the sea has formed a raised dome in the middle of the Beaufort Gyre, but to date there have been very limited in-depth studies to confirm this hypothesis.
If the wind does change direction, which did happen between the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, the pool of fresh water could spill out into the rest of the Arctic Ocean and even into the north Atlantic Ocean, the study said.This event could cool Europe by slowing down an ocean current coming from the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe relatively mild compared with countries at similar latitudes.
“Our findings suggest that a reversal of the wind could result in the release of this fresh water to the rest of the Arctic Ocean and even beyond,” said Katharine Giles at UCL’s Center for Polar Observation and Modelling and lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The team plans to further investigate the relationship between the sea-ice cover and wind changes and the effects they could have, including the Gyre. If the water does slow down the current it could be trouble, but what they fail to mention is that what if it does shut down?
To put things into a better perspective, studies have shown that a Weakened Gulf Stream caused the little Ice Age, so imagine what would happen if it stopped altogether! This puts the movie into better perspective, and that what transpired might be possible after all if the Gulf Stream were to shut down entirely, however even we doubt that it would occur as rapidly as in the movie, but then, one can never tell when it comes to mother nature, right? Remember the phrase, “Don’t Mess With Mother Nature”, well that can also be readily applied here. If the vast pool of Arctic fresh water expands and does spill over into the North Atlantic and slows the Gulf Stream, we could, in fact face another little Ice Age, which could lead to disastrous effects on the economies of the world, food supplies, oil and gas usage and prices, to start with. We had certainly think long and hard before we go about our business as usual trends, because sooner or later, we may wind up paying the ultimate price, which would be complete collapse of our society and life as we know it and shoot this to the very top of our man made disasters list. Peace my friends and God Bless!