Absolute Zero (film)
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|Written by||Sarah Watson|
|Directed by||Robert Lee|
|Theme music composer||Annette Ducharme|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||86 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Front Street Pictures|
|Original release||March 2006|
Absolute Zero is a 2006 disaster film, directed by Robert Lee, and written by Sarah Watson. It stars Jeff Fahey and Erika Eleniak. The film is about polar shift, which brings a new ice age in Florida, and everywhere within 30 degrees north and south of the equator.
David Koch (Jeff Fahey), a climatologist employed by Inter Sci, proposes a theory that the last ice age was triggered by Earth's polar shift in a single day. When unusually cold weather strikes Miami and the birds start to return from the south a few months earlier, he is sent to Antarctica to find out what is happening.
Once there, he discovers a frozen body of a human that is at least 10,000 years old. What is interesting is his appearance—he looks as if he was instantly frozen in place. He also discovers cave paintings that show the sun falling down. A sudden blizzard then destroys a base camp and kills some members of his team.
Back in Miami, he presents his findings to his co-workers and his boss. He claims that another polar shift is only a couple of hours away and the new ice age is inevitable. However, nobody believes him. According to the current theories, the shifting of the poles should last at least 200 years so the climate changes, if any, wouldn't appear overnight. David's one-time love Bryn (Erika Eleniak) supports his theory with numerous stories about the falling sun followed by a darkness and terrible cold.
When the weather in Miami starts getting colder and colder, the evacuation is ordered and the people start to move to the north. David, Bryn, and a group of people miss the chance to escape, and their only hope is to hide in a special room at Inter Sci. In a couple of hours, everything within 30° north and south of the equator turns to absolute zero (–273 °C) turning Florida, Mexico, Central America, most of South America and Africa into an ice desert.
They manage to survive although everything is frozen outside the room. When the polar shift is over and the sun appears again, they are rescued.
As a consequence of polar shift, many people die and the world's climate changes completely—Northern Canada and Siberia become hot deserts; Greenland, Iceland, Northern Europe, New York City and State, Alaska, and Antarctica now have a tropical climate.
The basic premise of the film, that the movement of the Earth's magnetic north and south poles to the middle latitude would cause a massive climatic shift, is only partially true. Although such an event (if it were possible) would result in dramatic effects on global weather patterns, it would not reverse the Earth's climate zones as shown in the film, since climate is governed not just by the Earth's magnetic field, but mainly by altitude and proximity to the poles via the tilt of the Earth's axis, which affords lower latitudes more direct sun rays. Furthermore, the movement of the poles, not the magnetic poles, would move both arctic and temperate regions, but would not necessarily trigger an ice age. It would not cause an ice age localized to Miami, as the film suggests.
The depiction of the Earth's areas that experience a decline in temperature (ultimately to -273 °C) is not scientifically accurate. Below -196 °C (-320 °F), the two dominant gases of Earth's atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) would liquefy and fall to the surface. Once the temperature drops below -220 °C (-365 °F), the liquefied gases would solidify, causing the atmospheric pressure in the affected zone to drop to zero. The remaining atmosphere would move to this zone and soon Earth would have no gaseous atmosphere, with a surface pressure of zero. None of these events occur in the film, although there is a drastic drop of pressure happening at the end of the film.
It is impossible to reach absolute zero naturally, nor would a movement of the poles induce any reduction in Earth temperatures. However, this is explained away in the film as being a previously unknown effect.
Furthermore, extremely low temperatures, at or near absolute zero, would almost certainly result in the manifestation of a Bose–Einstein condensate. Essentially, this causes quantum fluctuations to appear on a macroscopic scale. However, no such behavior is observed in the film.