Though the movie does not explain the formation of the intense ice storms, it does briefly explain how the abnormal weather patterns came to be. It was due to the Larsen Ice Shelf breaking off of the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Once melted into the ocean, it would raise the water temperature which creates a domino effect of odd weather patterns.
In Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, he also discusses the possibility of the same event and its possibility to produce a new ice age.
Though The Day After Tomorrow sensationalizes the whole ordeal, it is still hard to say what exactly would happen if the ice shelf breaks off, and that is the scary part.
Here is a picture of the Larsen Ice Shelf highlighted in red:
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