was a time when talking about the weather was a safe topic of
Since global warming received its Hollywood makeover,
such talk has stirred up controversy
in scientific circles.
The much-hyped movie about climate change, "The Day after
Tomorrow," which opens nationwide on May 28, depicts a series
of catastrophes as the world plunges
into a new ice age. In terms of accuracy, the movie is more science
fiction than fact.
Scientists have given it a drubbing
for its inaccuracies, but the movie has also garnered cautious
endorsements for raising the profile of an important issue.
The premise -- rapid climate change -- is the subject of plenty
of scientific studies, including a report commissioned by the
Pentagon that deemed the event unlikely, "but plausible."
Yet the movie's depiction of the fallout
from climate change stretches reputable science to apocalyptic
A few choice scenes from the movie
include a presidential motorcade flash-frozen on the streets of
New York, hail the size of grapefruit demolishing Tokyo, a mass
migration of Americans into Mexico and a tidal wave that smashes
New York City.
All of which is nonsense, scientists say.
"I think that someone watching "The Day after Tomorrow"
should realize that when they come out of the movie they should
know, that is not going to happen," said Dr. John Christy,
professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama
Not that the producers dispute that -- at least, not yet.
"The movie is fiction," states Roland Emmerich, Mark
Gordon and screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff on the movie's website,
but add, "We'd like to keep it that way."
The movie clearly runs on more adrenaline
than accuracy. It is not above a bit of lobbying either. The website
links to organizations that tackle global warming and offers ways
to learn about the issue.
Some have seized on this sensationalism as evidence that the
movie's portrayal of global warming -- and the threat of climate
change -- is alarmist.
"This movie takes a grain of truth and turns into a mountain
of apocalypse," says Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in
environmental studies with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think