/ / / RESEARCH – Climate Change From Nuclear War’s Smoke Could Threaten Food Supplies And Human Health
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RESEARCH – Climate Change From Nuclear War’s Smoke Could Threaten Food Supplies And Human Health

Newswise — New Brunswick) (Sept. 2021)) – While nuclear war could cause many deaths, smoke from the resulting fires could also cause climate changes that last up to 15years, which would threaten global food production, according to a study done by Rutgers University, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and other institutions.

The study is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. Scientists have known for a long time that nuclear weapons can be used to start large-scale fires in cities or industrial areas. This could lead to global climate change.

In the new study, researchers used a climate model including aerosols, nitric oxide emission, and sunlight absorption by smoke from nuclear wars. This could cause a significant loss of our protective layer of ozone. It will take a decade for the layer to recover. The result would be several years of intense ultraviolet light at Earth’s surface, further threatening human health and food supply.

“We suspected that ozone could be destroyed in a nuclear war, which would cause enhanced ultraviolet light at Earth’s surface. However, too much smoke would block out ultraviolet light. This would lead to a loss of most of our protective ozone layer, according to one of the study’s researchers, Alan Robock, a Distinguished professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Now, we have calculated how this would happen and quantified how it would vary depending on how much smoke was present.” The study’s results revealed that for a five-million tons of soot-producing nuclear war between India & Pakistan, the enhanced ultraviolet light would start within one year. It would take eight years for a global war between Russia and the United States to begin if it generated 150 megatons. The effects of intermediate amounts would be similar to those for extreme cases.

A global nuclear war would result in a 15 one-year-long decrease in the ozone column. This would include a peak loss in 75% worldwide and 65% within the tropics. This is higher than the 1980s predictions, which assumed large amounts of nitrogen oxides and did not account for the effects of smoke.

In the event of a nuclear war, global column ozone would decrease by 25% and recovery would take 12 many years. Similar to previous simulations, but the recovery time is faster due to shorter lifetimes for soot in these simulations.

” The bottom line is that nuclear warfare would be worse than we thought and should be avoided,” Robock stated. “For the future we have done other work and calculated how agriculture would change in response to changes in temperature, rainfall, sunlight, but not the ultraviolet light effects. The ultraviolet light would also damage animals, including ourselves, increasing cancers and cataracts.” This study was conducted by Lili Xia (Rutgers Research Associate), Columbia University, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


ABOUT RUTGERS–NEW BRUNSWICK Rutgers University-New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Rutgers’s flagship, which is recognized as one of the top 60 universities in the world, is a leading public research institution that is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It boasts an internationally-recognized faculty, 12 schools that offer degrees and the Big Ten Conference’s largest student body.

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