However, this week I won't be evaluating the physics of this movie (which is a shame, there are so many great places I can go with "10 degrees a second"). Instead, I will be talking the problem of global warming. Specifically, How does the modern rise in temperatures compare to historic fluctuation in global temperature. Surely everyone remembers learning in elementary school about the ice ages and the mammoths running around every where. And that one land bridge in the Bering strait that they always thought was so important to teach everyone. So clearly the planet has had some cool points, and seems to be in or on its way towards a hot point now. How does this look throughout history?
Well, Humanity as a species started taking measurements of the global temperature all the way back in the 1880's. Unfortunately, I was only able to dig up records dating until the 2010's, but it still should give us some sort of an idea, right?
|From NASA's records|
OH DEAR GOODNESS WE ARE GOING TO DI..... wait, the entire y-axis covers only 2 degrees Celsius. However, the global temperature is right around 0 degrees Celsius according to NASA. If one of the scary things about global warming is the polar ice melting, ice melts at 0 degrees Celsius. Obviously, the poles are cooler than the global average, that is what an average is after all. But if you start increasing the global average, the poles will increase too. Eventually, the poles hit 0 degrees Celsius and then....
So, that is only dating back until 1880. We know the ice ages were a bit further back. So how are we supposed to know what the temperature is before we took measurements? We can actually estimate what the global temperature was using clues from things such as tree rings and other proxy data sources. You take a bunch of proxy data sources from as far back as we can figure and put them together, and you get something that looks (something) like this:
Ok, so the scale on this graph is a bit bigger, but it points out an interesting note: The Earth seems to have been hotter, much hotter, in years past. Considering best evidence dates humans anywhere from 200,000 to 10 million years ago, we as a species likely didn't live through the incredibly hot temperatures, however there is a chance we have lived through temperatures hotter than the current ones. What does that mean for modern man and global warming? Well, I leave that to someone smarter than myself.
P.S. in case you were wondering, in 3015, global warming has not ended humans. Not to say it won't, but so far we are still kicking.
P.P.S. Why on earth is the movie called "Day After Tomorrow"? It never references that line at all, the whole movie takes place over a week or two, and just in all ways the name seems ripped out of nowhere. But whatever.