Nuclear winter would threaten nearly everyone on Earth

The second study of its kind confirms extreme impacts from the U.S. vs. Russia nuclear war.


Current nuclear arsenals used in a war between the United States and Russia could inject 150 Tg of soot from fires ignited by nuclear explosions into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.winter will compromise nearly everybody on Earth.

Scientists used a modern climate model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to simulate the climatic effects of an all-out nuclear war. The model suggests, if the United States and Russia waged an all-out nuclear war, much of the land in the Northern Hemisphere would be below freezing in the summertime, with the growing season slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas.

Such a war could send 150 million tons of black smoke from the fire in cities and industrial areas into the lower and upper atmosphere, where it could wait for months to years and block sunlight.

The model also represents to the Earth at a lot more locations and includes simulations of the growth of the smoke particles and ozone destruction from the warming of the environment. In any case, the climate response to a nuclear war from the new model was about indistinguishable from that from the NASA model.

Lead author Joshua Coupe, a Rutgers doctoral student said, “This means that we have much more confidence in the climate response to a large-scale nuclear war. There really would be a nuclear winter with catastrophic consequences.”

The scientists used a new climate model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research with higher resolution and improved simulations compared with a NASA model.

In both the new and old models, a nuclear winter occurs as soot (black carbon) in the upper atmosphere blocks sunlight and causes global average surface temperatures to plummet by more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Co-author Alan Robock, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said, “Because a major nuclear war could erupt by accident or as a result of hacking, computer failure or an unstable world leader, the only safe action that the world can take is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”

“In other words, the study provides more evidence to support The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passed by the United Nations two years ago.”

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