Movie generates debate |

Movie generates debate

Gregory Crofton

It’s playing at South Shore starting today, but you may have to chip through ice to get to it.

It all depends on the weather.

“The Day After Tomorrow” is a movie about weather that turns New York City into a glacier within minutes and sends tornadoes ripping through the Hollywood sign. Global warming caused by pollution has changed ocean temperatures, melted glaciers and warped weather patterns across the world.

Directed by Roland Emmerich, who was also behind “Independence Day” and “The Patriot,” the film presents an extreme scenario dismissed as unrealistic by scientists but embraced by environmentalists for its stop-pollution theme.

The idea for the film came from the book “The Coming Global Superstorm” by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, two nationally known radio talk show hosts whose topics range from the paranormal to environmental changes.

“Although the rapid climate change seen in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is compressed into a physically impossible time frame, the movie gives a larger-than-life perspective of the effects of global warming and raises awareness about it,” said Joe McConnell, a research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno.

McConnell recently returned from a three-week trek across Greenland to collect ice cores as part of a study that involves ice sheets and climate change.

Research of McConnell and other scientists at DRI have documented changes in climate within 40 years that led to 20-degree temperature changes and 50 percent decreases in precipitation.

Warming trends were also reported this week at King Beach where the top 100 scientists in the West met for three days to present research papers.

“A warming North Atlantic and cooling tropical Pacific have shifted the climate from wet to dry,” researchers reported. “The last freeze now happens earlier in the spring, and longer, hotter growing seasons now characterize both wet and dry spells.”

Greenpeace, an international environmental organization, sees the movie as a call to arms. They have created a Web site that looks just like the movie’s site except it reads: “The Day is Today – What will you do?”

A news ticker at the top of the site reports provocative information: “The last decade was Europe’s hottest for 500 years; in Britain the first bumble bee this spring was seen on Dec. 23, way too early; Swiss glaciers shrank faster in 2003 than every before; in Alaska the average annual temperatures have risen by 5 degree since the 1960s.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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