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Nuclear War Impacts Updated

The war in Ukraine has raised fresh concerns about nuclear war. Louisiana State University (LSU) research brings us up-to-date on what would occur in hypothetical scenarios.

Nuclear War in Hypothetical Scenarios

Nuclear War Impacts
  1. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, nine nations control the world’s 13,000+ nuclear weapons.

  2. According to the LSU study, the first month following nuclear detonation would see average global temperatures plunge by about 13°F, a bigger temperature change than occurred during the last Ice Age.

  3. Rapidly dropping ocean temperatures would expand sea ice by more than 6 million square miles and 6 feet deep in places, possibly blocking major ports, such as Beijing's Port of Tianjin. 

  4. Urban firestorms could send particles into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The resultant smoke would last three times longer than volcanic aerosols.

  5. In a US vs Russia scenario, shortwave radiation could be reduced by 70%, and the global average surface temperature (including land) could decline by 7°C (44.6°F) at first, reaching a peak anomaly of −10°C (14°F) in the third year.

  6. Following each of the nuclear war scenarios, a decade-long solar radiation reduction and cooling event would occur.

  7. In all nuclear war scenarios, temperature modifications and biogeochemical profiles would continue for decades, more likely for hundreds of years, due to long recovery times for the deep ocean.

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