NUCLEAR-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE

Summary: Recent research demonstrates that severe global climatic consequences would follow a limited regional nuclear war involving 100 Hiroshima-size bombs targeting cities.

Prof. Alan Robock from Rutgers University and Prof. Brian Toon from the University of Colorado summarise recent research on the climatic impacts of nuclear warfare:

A nuclear war between any two countries, each using 50 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs, such as India and Pakistan, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history. This is less than 0.05% of the explosive power of the current global arsenal. Nuclear arsenals with 50 nuclear weapons can produce a global pall of smoke leading to global ozone depletion. The smoke, once in the stratosphere, heats the air, which speeds up reactions that destroy ozone, and also lofts reactive chemicals by altering the winds.

More information:

* Starr, Steven, October 2009, ‘Catastrophic Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict’, paper commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, www.icnnd.org/research/Starr_Nuclear_Winter_Oct_09.pdf

* Starr, Steven, 12 March 2010, ‘The climatic consequences of nuclear war’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/the-climatic-consequences-of-nuclear-war

* Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict – references and links to articles by Prof. Alan Robock, Prof. Brian Toon and others http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear

* Robock, Alan, 2009, Nuclear winter, www.eoearth.org/article/Nuclear_winter

* Robock Alan, and Brian Toon, December 30, 2009, ‘South Asian Threat? Local Nuclear War = Global Suffering’, Scientific American, www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=local-nuclear-war

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