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Science

Nuclear War’s Effect on the Environment

705px-Nuclear_fireballIt seems somewhat ridiculous to be talking about the “additional” effects that a nuclear war would have on the environment. A slew of jokes run through my mind, touting the ridiculous nature of this story.

But a team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, led by Michael Mills, has created a computer model that shows the effects that 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs would impose upon the environment.

The model is based upon a war striking up between Pakistan and India, and unleashing 50 of their 15 kiloton warheads on the other. “The figure of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs compares pretty accurately to the approximately 110 warheads that both states reportedly possess between them,” agrees Wyn Bowen, professor of non-proliferation and international security in the War Studies Group at King’s College, UK.

The research group found that such a war in that area would deplete up to 40% of the ozone layer in the mid latitudes of Earth, and up to 70% in the high northern latitudes. “The models show this magnitude of ozone loss would persist for five years, and we would see substantial losses continuing for at least another five years,” says Mills.

The effects of such a war would expel 5 million metric tons of soot in to the atmosphere, which would aborb energy from the sun, heat the surrounding gasses, and ause a breakdown of ozone by nitrogen oxides.

As a result of this ozone breakdown DNA damage would increase by 213%, resulting in an increase of cataracts and cancer, thanks to the influx of ultraviolet rays. The damage to plants would double relative to current rates. The UV damage would continue as long as the ozone remained depleted.

All of that being said I find it ridiculous that we are trying to create new reasons to say “no” to nuclear war.

How about we just say no to nuclear weapons because of the horrific and massive loss of life they cause.




One comment
  1. Mark

    what about all the nuclear testing that was done over a timespan of about 30 years or more by the nuclear powers? I think that the current global warming was caused by that.

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