In Mad Max: Fury Road, it's strongly implied that the Pacific Ocean has evaporated (or almost entirely evaporated), and is now just "the Great Salt." In particular, Max says that riding across the Great Salt for over a hundred days on a motorcycle, you still would find "nothing but salt."

So taking in for granted the oceans are gone or mostly gone as a result of the nuclear war, is that realistic? I've never seen a post-nuclear war fiction treat huge bodies of water this way, and I have no idea how it would be possible.

  • 3
    it does seems pretty un-realistic, that amount of water disappearing would probably mean the planet is far to un-inhabitable for humans. – Himarm Jan 19 '16 at 19:09
  • 1
    Also most of the water would have to remain in the biosphere somewhere, which would cause constant raining, at the least. – Mark Rogers Jan 19 '16 at 19:14
  • 1
    Maybe someone released sand trout inadvertently. – void_ptr Jan 19 '16 at 19:38
  • 4
    Why has this question been put on hold? How does this not "relate directly to a cited work of fiction"? – SQB Jan 20 '16 at 10:56
  • 2
    Because it's not asking if/how it happened in the movie. It's asking if the movie is depicting realistic real-world physics. Those questions are off topic. – KutuluMike Jan 20 '16 at 14:06

Possible but very unrealistic

First I have bad news for everyone: the oceans WILL evaporate in not so distant future, pessimistic estimates predict it happening in barely 150 million years (more realistic predict it at around 800 millions- 1 billion years)! Better start gathering the bottled water! This mass dehydration will occur thanks to increased solar luminosity, which will increase the temperature of the oceans and increased vapor in the air will kick the Venus-like greenhouse effect. To reach that state surface temperature would have to reach about 70 degrees Celsius. So long and thanks for the fish!

Now, could human-made weapons do similar things? Highly unlikely: most post-nuclear scenarios would suggest rather nuclear winter rather than nuclear heatwave, due to increased pollution blocking the sun. Of course, that would also kick off the greenhouse effect in the end, but without increased solar activity I seriously doubt that it could increase temperature to such high levels. However this National Geographic article suggests that the beginning of runaway greenhouse effect (which is the vaporising of the oceans and water leaving the earth atmosphere) can kick in with as "little" as putting the 10 times the carbon dioxide that you'd get from burning all carbon, gas, and oil.

In my opinion, the Mad Max shows lack of clean water, no water at all.

Sources: When the Earth will lose its oceans

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.