Building on past research, Xia, Robock, and their colleagues worked to calculate how much sun-blocking soot would enter the atmosphere from firestorms that the detonation of nuclear weapons would ignite. By doing so, researchers took six war scenarios, such as small India-Pakistan and large USA-Russian Federation war, to calculate soot dispersal.
From the smallest nuclear scenario to the biggest one: What would happen?
By the smallest scenario, the nuclear war between India and Pakistan would lead to a decrease of 7% of the global average caloric production in five years. However, in the largest war scenario — between USA and Russia — global average caloric production decreased by about 90 percent three to four years after the fighting.
It is also thought that large deficits would arise in imports due to the depletion of crops. This situation would also prevail for Russia and America, which are considered the superpowers of the world.
“Future work will bring even more granularity to the crop models. For instance, the ozone layer would be destroyed by the heating of the stratosphere, producing more ultraviolet radiation at the surface, and we need to understand that impact on food supplies,” Xia said.
“If nuclear weapons exist, they can be used, and the world has come close to nuclear war several times,” Robock said. “Banning nuclear weapons is the only long-term solution. The five-year-old UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been ratified by 66 nations, but none of the nine nuclear states. Our work makes clear that it is time for those nine states to listen to science and the rest of the world and sign this treaty”.