'Small' Nuclear War Could Trigger Catastrophic Cooling



’Small’ Nuclear War Could Trigger Catastrophic Cooling

Even a relatively small regional nuclear war could trigger global cooling, damage the ozone layer and cause droughts for more than a decade, researchers say.

These findings should further spur the elimination of the more than 17,000 nuclear weapons that exist today, scientists added.
During the Cold War, a nuclear exchange between superpowers was feared for years. One potential consequence of such a global nuclear war was “nuclear winter,” wherein nuclear explosions sparked huge fires whose smoke, dust and ash blotted out the sun, resulting in a “twilight at noon” for weeks. Much of humanity might eventually die from the resulting crop failures and starvation.

Today, with the United States the only standing superpower, nuclear winter might seem a distant threat. Still, nuclear war remains a very real threat; for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan.
To see what effects such a regional nuclear conflict might have on climate, scientists modeled a war between India and Pakistan involving 100 Hiroshima-level bombs, each packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT — just a small fraction of the world’s current nuclear arsenal. They simulated interactions within and between the atmosphere, ocean, land and sea ice components of the Earth’s climate system.
Scientists found the effects of such a war could be catastrophic.

“Most people would be surprised to know that even a very small regional nuclear war on the other side of the planet could disrupt global climate for at least a decade and wipe out the ozone layer for a decade,” study lead author Michael Mills, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, told Live Science.
The researchers predicted the resulting firestorms would kick up about 5.5 million tons (5 million metric tons) of black carbon high into the atmosphere. This ash would absorb incoming solar heat, cooling the surface below.

Maybe we could use a few nukes to counter global warming? We, the Russians and China all have desert regions that could be evacuated prior to bombing.

It’s to save the planet after all.


I would be happy to volunteer sparsely populated areas of all three countries for such an experiment. Anything to stop this global warming that hasn’t raised the ambient temperature of the world by one degree for the last decade.
Why did they stop atmospheric testing across all nuclear nations again? Silly sausages, all that worry and no understanding of the value of a large number of small nuclear explosions across the world, as you have explained it.
I think they used a nuclear missile to move mercury off a collision course with earth in one of those documentaries in the sky-fy channel I watched with interest last week.


‘Small’ regional nuclear war may not be as unlikely as one might wish. See this article from Business Insider about Russian nuclear exercises. The U.S. has been reducing its nuclear deterrent even as Russia reinforces its own. The sad fact is that a reduced nuclear deterrent makes war not less likely, but more so.


If I absolutely had to bet, I would bet the next nuclear war will be in the Middle East. Once Iran gets nuclear weapons, everybody in the region will get them and be at hair-trigger readiness to use them.


I don’t think that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons could truthfully be cited as the cause of nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East. Pakistan’s proliferation was the result of India’s proliferation. Everyone else tried to follow suit after Israel developed them.


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