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Software Science

Simulate "The Day After Tomorrow" On Your PC 285

kpearson writes ", a distributed computing project to predict Earth's climate 50 years from now, has a new add-on project to study THC slowdown (how climate might change as CO2 changes in the event of a decrease in the strength of the thermohaline circulation). This kind of rapid, extreme climate change is shown in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, in which New York City is treated to a 10,000-year-long ski season. Anyone can download the project's client software and participate in the simulation. was previously mentioned in the September 13, 2003 article Distributed Computing and Climate Change." Clients are available for various varieties of Microsoft Windows, but none are listed for other OSes.
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Simulate "The Day After Tomorrow" On Your PC

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  • by ZaMoose ( 24734 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @06:35AM (#9181404)
    Considering that most serious climatologists think the very premise of Day After Tomorrow is bunk [], what does that say for the utility of us wasting CPU cycles on it?

    Or is the association with the upcoming movie merely some editorial license on the part of the /. crew?
  • by QuasiRob ( 134012 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @06:38AM (#9181415)
    Just from watching the trailers it looks like it will be another contender for inclusion on various bad movie [] websites [].

    How much of the public will be mislead into thinking thats how it really happens? I still cringe whenever Armageddon is on.
  • wrong! (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuasiRob ( 134012 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @06:42AM (#9181432)
    The moons orbit is expanding.

    Where did you get all that from, tarot cards?
  • Re:THC slowdown (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @06:50AM (#9181473)
    Yes my friend, you're missing something. The "pollen" that your friendly hashman refers to is most likely polm. The finest morrocan hashes are polm. I am unsure as to the genesis of the word, but it could be related to palm, or else is an indigenous north african word.

    There are varieties of hash called pollen I believe, but they are "brand names" much like "northern lights" or "silver pearl" are to skunk herb.

    Your dealer is either using the name in this way, or has bastardised polm. It seems to be a commonish error. But, now you know...

    The reason why 100% female plants are preferred to males is that they are much stronger and more productive. The ladies give us concentrated trichomes containing high levels of THC/CBD, whereas the males contain little of the active ingredients and give us a headache and a weak buzz.

    So, spread the word brother.! No more pollen. Polm!

  • That movie is expected to draw furhter focus on the environment and specifically global warming.

    And what we learn from the movie is that this global warming you speak of causes a 10,000 year winter. Or, the warmer it gets, the more snow falls on New York ... or something like that.
  • Re:wrong! (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuasiRob ( 134012 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @07:11AM (#9181547)
    Good grief, dont you people know how to use a search engine to do a little research before you post?

    Freemars [] - Gravitational interaction (tides on the Earth caused by the Moon) transfers kinetic energy from Earth to the Moon, slowing Earth's rotation and raising the Moon's orbit, currently at a rate of 3.8 centimeters per year.

    another page []

    and another []

    and another []
  • Yes and no. Interannual trends are captured fairly well, seasonal forecasts tend to be off (worse, as you get down to the scale of weather) See here, [] for more information than you'd possibly want.
  • by JasonAWallwork ( 620569 ) <743g8vae02@s n e a> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @07:21AM (#9181584) Homepage
    Do you have a source that suggests the moon is getting closer? According to this article [], (and many others) it's been moving further away. The water levels will rise drastically in the next few years probably but it will be due to global warming, not the moon.
  • The Abrupt Climate Change FAQ [] from the Union of Concerned Scientists, has a lot to say on the subject and the movie:

    Can what happens in The Day After Tomorrow happen in real life?

    No. The dramatic, virtually instantaneous and widespread cooling envisioned in the film is fiction. But like all good science fiction, the film is premised on several important scientific facts. We know with great certainty that the Earth is already warming, largely because as we burn fossil fuels and clear forests we are releasing carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. This warming is expected to continue in the coming decades, accompanied by changes in rainfall patterns and rising sea levels. The possibility of an abrupt shift in the climate system is only one feature of a changing climate that is expected to become more erratic, with extreme weather events like droughts, torrential rainfall, and extreme heat becoming more common. We can slow down global warming and reduce the likelihood of future abrupt climate changes by reducing our emissions of heat-trapping gases.

    The other interesting thing it mentions is that Abrupt Climage Change refers to changes that happen over years to decades as opposed to climate change that is happening now over decades and centuries. Make no mistake, we have changed our climate more in the last hundred years than in the previous thousand years.

  • Re:Not gonna work (Score:5, Informative)

    by dave_frame ( 707349 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @07:46AM (#9181661)
    We're not running a parallelised model across lots of computers, we're farming out a run to each of several thousand machines. And the purpose of the experiment is precisely to look into the feedback processes that govern how climate changes. You say: "what's holding back the state of the art right now is the quality of the algorithms we're using" and this - on climate timescales - is what we're looking to explore. Basically, the models that we have these days (IPCC TAR, for instance) lack any sort of quantitative measure of uncertainty. We're looking to find "error bars" for these sorts of predictions. See adv.php for details of the experimental strategy. [We (& friends overseas) have submitted bids in recent EU Framework 6 and NSF rounds, to try to do something similar with very different models. This will help us conduct a convergence/verification process.] We have recently submitted a "first results" paper and are awaiting the reviewers' comments. So far, things seem to be going pretty well (though we'd love some more participants!). Cheers, Dave Frame coordinator
  • by dave_frame ( 707349 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @07:56AM (#9181717)
    Exactly. Although in a chaotic system predictability due to initial conditions washes out over time (in the atmosphere initial condition predictability washes out over about 2 weeks) predictability due to changes in the boundary conditions of the system emerges over time. Imagine a choppy and complicated lake which is fed by a river. The river's flow is getting bigger and bigger (perhaps due to some earthworks in the upstream catchment area). You take a snapshot of the lake, and use your model + initial conditions to predict the surface in thirty second's time. You do okay. But (say) you do a lousy job of predicting the surface in a day's time. BUT, you might do an okay job of predicting the *average level* of the surface in a month's time, not by knowing the initial conditions very well, but by knowing the rate of change of the river's flow. So though we can't predict the exact state (the weather) on longer timescales, we can (we hope, models and data permitting) do a reasonable job of predicting the average state (the climate) of the system on longer timescales. Dave Frame coordinator
  • by dave_frame ( 707349 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @08:24AM (#9181929)
    We're in the process of moving the software to BOINC, which will make us much more platform neutral. We reckon this ought to be done in a few weeks (it's been quite a big job). We'll be having a public beta test, so if you want to get involved (on your Mac or linux box) keep an eye on


    Dave Frame coordinator

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @09:06AM (#9182316)
    i.e. those that don't use drugs or know much about them, like yours truly who had to go to wikipedia, THC also stands for "tetrahydrocannibinol", the major psychoactive drug in marijuana/cannabis.

  • by randomErr ( 172078 ) <ervin.kosch@gmail . c om> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @09:35AM (#9182668) Journal
    Um guys.... the movie was written by Art Bell. The guy who had a late night radio show [] for decades where he talked about aliens, astro projection, and psychic pets. For that reason alone I can't take this movie too seriously.
  • Bjorn Lomborg (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mad Man ( 166674 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:31AM (#9183297)
    was Re:Concerning the movie "The Day after Tomorrow" []
    He's in statistics, and judging by some of the critisism he's gotten from other people in that area, not a very good one either.

    Actually, it turns out many of his critics aren't very good scientists.
    from []
    Case Against Scientifically Honest Bjorn Lomborg Dismissed

    The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty abetted a vicious ideological [] environmentalist smear campaign []against Bjorn Lomborg by declaring two years ago that his excellent book The Skeptical Environmentalist [], was "objectively dishonest." Naturally this accusation hit the headlines. However, in December, 2003, the Danish Ministry of Science and Technology overturned [] the DCSD kangaroo court's decision and sent it back to them. On futher reflection the DCSD members have now decided that perhaps they'd been a bit hasty and have completely dropped the matter (see press release below).

    Press Release

    March 12, 2004

    Scientific Dishonesty Committee Withdraws Lomborg Case

    The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) today announced it would not reopen the case concerning Bjørn Lomborg's book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist".

    In December 2003 The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation completely rejected the DCSD finding that "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice".

    The Ministry, which is responsible for the DCSD, found that the committee's judgment was not backed up by documentation and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

    The Ministry invalidated the original finding and sent the case back to DCSD, where it was up to the committee to decide whether to reopen the case for a new trial.

    "The committee decision is as one would expect," Environmental Assessment Institute director Bjørn Lomborg said today. "More than two years have passed since the case against my book was started. In that time every possible stone has been turned over, yet DCSD has been unable to find a single point of criticism that withstands further investigation."

    "DCSD have reached the only logical conclusion. The committee has acknowledged that the former verdict of my book was invalid. I am happy that this will spell an end to what has been a very distasteful course of events," Bjørn Lomborg said.

    The DCSD translated their first judgment into English. Today's announcement is only available in Danish.

    No word of an apology nor headlines declaring Lomborg vindicated.

    Posted by Ronald Bailey [mailto] at March 12, 2004 03:27 PM
  • by Mad Man ( 166674 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:40AM (#9183400)
    re: Looks like it will be a bad film []

    How much of the public will be mislead into thinking thats how it really happens?

    Maybe that's the purpose of the movie?

    The first couple of paragraphs in the following column are political commentary, so feel free to skip them and get straight to the scientific criticism of the movie. 04May14?language=printer []

    Apocalypse Soon?
    No, But This Movie (and Democrats) Hope You'll Think So

    By Patrick J. Michaels
    Sunday, May 16, 2004; Page B01
    Washington Post

    On March 13, the Guardian newspaper of London, beating the American networks by nearly eight months, called the U.S. presidential election -- for Sen. John F. Kerry. The Democrat would win, the paper declared, not because of his plan for Iraq, or his proposals for the economy, but because of . . . a movie.

    Specifically, a movie about global warming. It's called "The Day After Tomorrow." And if it doesn't actually unseat George Bush, it won't be for lack of trying. It opens on May 28, but this movie is already being vocally touted by none other than former vice president Al Gore, on behalf of, a liberal Internet advocacy group backed in part by billionaire George Soros that appears to be dedicated to defeating Bush.

    At least that's the take-home message from the MoveOn Web site, which ominously calls "The Day After Tomorrow" "the movie the White House doesn't want you to see" -- because it will supposedly ignite a backlash against Bush's global warming policies, which favor slow technological evolution over immediate (and expensive) reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. As a climatologist, I'm concerned that this putative backlash could be caused by scientific nonsense.

    Let's not forget that the planet is warmer than it was when the Little Ice Age ended in the 19th century, and that people have had something (not everything) to do with that. But what Gore and the movie do is to exaggerate this largely benign truth into a fictional apocalypse.

    Gore last sounded the alarm on global warming at a rally hosted by in New York on Jan. 15, which happened to be the coldest day of the past decade in the Northeast. That was fitting, because the thesis of "The Day After Tomorrow" is that global warming causes a new ice age. And not just any old glaciation, either, but one that builds up in only three days.

    Here's the plot. In the middle of a Northern Hemisphere summer, the temperature of the high-latitude Atlantic and Pacific suddenly drops 15 degrees. This is caused by the shutdown of the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe from being the icebox it should be at its northerly latitude.

    Since the Gulf Stream is no longer transporting warm water to Europe, the tropics get hotter and hotter, and the poles colder and colder. In a series of massive thunderstorms, the atmosphere flips over, and increasingly cold stratospheric air is drawn down to the earth's surface, creating a low-pressure system that produces hundreds of feet of snow. Temperatures in Canada drop 100 degrees in an hour. Just about everyone north of Washington, D.C., dies. The following summer, the ice melts and a continental flood ensues.

    Hurricanes hit Belfast. San Francisco Bay freezes. Hailstones the size of canned hams bomb Tokyo. According to the movie's Web page, Madras, India, becomes the "New Venice of the South."

    The movie makers maintain that much of this has already started. Disaster is heading our way pronto. The picture's Web site reminds us, for instance, that just last May, we had a record number of tornados for one month, and that more than half of the deaths that occur in hurricanes now are due to

  • Re:Bjorn Lomborg (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:31PM (#9184685)
    Yeah, I read about that as well - and reading between the lines of the media take, they were forced to drop the issue by the government. Apparently the Prime Minister who don't like "so called" experts telling people what to think, don't really like it, when people take issues with his own handpicked experts.

    Since I have not read the (now withdrawn) findings by the Committee, I choose not to base my judgements on their findings.

    By the way - I wasn't even thinking of that Committee, but was thinking of a smallish 5 page (I think) dissection [] (page 12 to 17 of that pdf) of a just a small part of his book - by Inge Henningsen, who is an associate professor at the Statistic Department [] of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences [] at Copenhagen University [].

    She also notes in her piece, that he's not actually a statistician like they know them at her department, as he has a M.A in Political Science [] from Århus Universitet [] and teaches "Methods" there as well. He is (as is noted) "an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Politital Science".

    As to who has the better credentials when it comes to statistics - well, my oppinion is fairly obvious, but I've given you plenty of venues to explore yourself and leave you to draw your own conclusions.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI