Planetary Effects of Nuclear War

A great deal of research has been done on the possible effects that nuclear war would have on the planet if the proliferation of such warfare ever became a widespread reality. Now, technology has aided the studies of such matters by helping to create computerized models that provide a glimpse of the planetary effects that would follow the onset of a nuclear war. These models show that the effects would be so widespread that it would take decades for Earth to recover.

Most are already aware that such warfare on a major scale would result in staggering losses of life. Millions, even billions, of people would die in the process. Not only that, but it would be much more difficult for humanity to sustain itself in the aftermath. This is because the research, which is based on a nuclear war involving warheads that are actually relatively smaller in size than those that would likely be used if such an event were to actually occur, has indicated that the ozone would be depleted by as much as fifty percent. This would occur due to the fact that black carbon would enter the ozone layer and create atomic winter. The skies would also rain soot, as well as acid rain, which would kill many more people and also wipe out a great deal of agriculture.

The bombs considered by the study are not technically small, but they are dwarfed by modern technologies. This is because those considered by the study are only as large as some of the first atomic bombs created. Before the attack on Japan in WWII, nuclear war was a vague idea which lingered in the distant future. As soon as the Allies brought Hiroshima and Nagasaki to their knees, it became an ever-present danger, dreaded worldwide as Cold War-era fear led to an increase in the production of such weapons.

The climate models used in the new research carried out in Colorado indicate that, should such fears ever come to fruition, it would take the planet between twenty and thirty years to recuperate. Even a quarter of a century following the end of nuclear war, global temperatures and ozone levels would likely be a bit lower than they are at present. Skin cancer would become more common, and famine would stalk the land, the Mail Online reports.

There is no doubt that nuclear war would have a great immediate impact on the planet, but the long-term implications are almost just as bad. If humanity were able to sustain itself through such times, the world would look much different by the time it was over. The full results of the research conducted in Colorado are available for all to see in an essay entitled “Multidecadal Global Cooling and Unprecedented Ozone Loss Following a Regional Nuclear Conflict.” This goes into further detail on the immediate and long-term planetary effects associated with nuclear war and its aftermath.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE