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People are comparing 'super vortex' warning that could affect fate of humanity to The Day After Tomorrow

People are comparing 'super vortex' warning that could affect fate of humanity to The Day After Tomorrow

If we're being honest it's probably not going to be like a disaster movie.

Have you heard about Antarctica's 'super vortex' swirling around our planet's southern continent?

Basically, it's a large vortex of ocean water that's swirling around Antarctica with a volume more than 100 times greater than all of the rivers in the world combined.

Only this swirling mass of water is getting faster and more dangerous, which could have catastrophic consequences for our species.

So why is this potentially horrible thing happening to us and what impact is it going to have on the world?

Guess what, it's the fault of that dastardly problem climate change which is bedevilling our species on so many fronts that we really ought to do something about it.

There are fears that the faster vortex will strip the Antarctic of ice even faster.
David Merron/Getty Images

Here's the quick version, according to scientists at Columbia University who have analysed the past 5.3 million years of the vortex, it slows down during periods of global cooling and speeds up when the Earth's temperature rises.

They work this out by looking at sediment and were able to figure out how the speed of the vortex, also known as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), changed depending on the planet's temperature.

Obviously with the world in a period of global warming, the vortex is speeding up but the experts are concerned that the rising speeds of this 'super vortex' are making things even worse.

They're concerned that the faster the vortex the more it might contribute to rising sea levels, a bit like ice melting in a drink that's stirred.

Another study from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany also warned that 'a stronger ACC means more warm, deep water reaches the ice-shelf edge of Antarctica'.

It's sobering stuff, so naturally people have been responding by comparing the 'super vortex' to the environmental disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.

Don't worry, we won't all freeze to death. We'll drown instead.
20th Century Studios

In that film, it's rather a disruption to the currents of the North Atlantic, not the vortex around the Antarctic, which cause the disaster but the world is plunged into a frozen hell-scape anyway.

"I saw this in a movie once," one person commented, while another joked: "When is this going to happen? Maybe The Day After Tomorrow!"

Someone else joked that this 'could happen any time between now and The Day After Tomorrow', but if the polar vortex gets us, it won't really look like that movie.

Instead, rising sea levels could render significant portions of the world underwater and uninhabitable, forcing people to move inland in search of homes that are suitable for people other than Aquaman.

Obviously, the disruption to food production and infrastructure would cause famines, poverty and death, serving up a veritable smorgasbord of consequences.

Maybe we ought to do something about that climate change thing before it's too late.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Photo/20th Century Studios

Topics: Science, World News, Environment, Global Warming