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Global Zero says the United States has 7,700 nuclear warheads, citing a Federation of American Scientists report. The Department of Defense disclosed in 2012 that “as of September 30, 2009, the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons consisted of 5,113 warheads.”
The environmental effects from a nuclear war would probably be the direst consequence, aside from immediate fatalities. Some modern perspective may be enlightening. The 2020 Vision Campaign predicted that if India and Pakistan were to fight a nuclear war, fires ignited by the nuclear blasts could create large amounts of light-absorbing smoke. Furthermore, depending upon the total number of bombs dropped, the resulting flames could create 5 million tons of carbonaceous smoke particles. This smoke could blacken the sky. Winds would transport the carbonaceous smoke across the atmosphere while the smoke induces circulations in response to solar heating. As a result, these radiative interactions would stabilize the smoke arsenal in the upper and middle atmosphere for a decade. On land, changes in surface temperatures, precipitation rates and the growing seasons would cause agricultural yield to plummet, inevitably leading to famines. This scenario is for a limited nuclear exchange. In a full-scale nuclear war, humanity could become extinct. Perhaps this is the reason why world leaders have kept their proverbial finger off the button.
originally posted by: watchitburn
a reply to: watchitburn
I think the answer is that they weren't all detonated at once. They were spread out over years and location ie, upper atmospheric, subsurface, lower atmosphere...
The detonation released an enormous electromagnetic pulse that knocked out power in Hawaii 870 miles away and wrecked one-third of all the satellites orbiting the earth at that time. Basically, unless a satellite was hiding behind the earth, it was rendered useless.
Sounds like BS to me and neither of your sources say that. However it's probably not a bad thing if people believe that, as nuclear war would have truly horrible and devastating consequences, but wiping all life on Earth isn't likely to be one of them.
originally posted by: Kashai
The United States alone could wipe out all life on the Earth about 4 times over with its current arsenal of Nuclear Weapons.
As a result, these radiative interactions would stabilize the smoke arsenal in the upper and middle atmosphere for a decade.
Hobbs found that at the peak of the fires, the smoke absorbed 75 to 80% of the sun’s radiation. The particles rose to a maximum of 20,000 feet (6,100 m), and when combined with scavenging by clouds the smoke had a short residency time of a maximum of a few days in the atmosphere.
Pre-war claims of wide scale, long-lasting, and significant global environmental impacts were thus not borne out, and found to be significantly exaggerated by the media and speculators
I was going to say that too but since you beat me to it, I'll agree with Carlin.
originally posted by: ShayneJUK
George Carlin had the answer "the planet will be fine. It's the people that will be f#£ked"
When the Cold War ended, so too did attention to nuclear winter. That started to change in 2007, with a new line of nuclear winter research2) that uses advanced climate models developed for the study of global warming. Relative to the 1980s research, the new research found that the smoke from nuclear firestorms would travel higher up in the atmosphere, causing nuclear winter to last longer. This research also found dangerous effects from smaller nuclear wars, such as an India-Pakistan nuclear war detonating “only” 100 total nuclear weapons. Two groups—one in the United States3) and one in Switzerland4)—have found similar results using different climate models, lending further support to the validity of the research.
Some new research has also examined the human impacts of nuclear winter. Researchers simulated agricultural crop growth in the aftermath of a 100-weapon India-Pakistan nuclear war.5)The results are startling- the scenario could cause agriculture productivity to decline by around 10 to 40 percent for several years after the war. The studies looked at major staple crops in China and the United States, two of the largest food producers. Other countries and other crops would likely face similar declines.
Following such crop declines, severe global famine could ensue. One study estimated the total extent of the famine by comparing crop declines to global malnourishment data.6) When food becomes scarce, the poor and malnourished are typically hit the hardest. This study estimated two billion people at risk of starvation. And this is from the 100-weapon India-Pakistan nuclear war scenario. Larger nuclear wars would have more severe impacts.
But we do know what effect the Kuwait oil fires had and that those proved several predictions related to nuclear winter scenarios wrong.
But how severe would those consequences be? And what should the world be doing about it?
To the first question, the short answer is nobody knows. The total human impacts of nuclear winter are both uncertain and under-studied.