New model agrees with old: Nuclear war between US and Russia would result in nuclear winter

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A team of researchers with Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado has found that a new climate model agrees with an older climate model—a nuclear war between the U.S and Russia would result in a nuclear winter. They have published their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

Most people who lived through the nuclear age have heard of nuclear winter, in which global cooling would result from a major nuclear war. Early fears of such an outcome have been bolstered by sophisticated computer models that showed what would happen if a large number of nuclear bombs were detonated in large urban areas. The planet would grow colder due to the huge amount of smoke generated by fires ignited by the atomic blasts—the smoke would cover the entire planet for years, blocking the sun.

In this new effort, the researchers analyzed a large number of variables, such as estimated number of bombs, their strength, where they would blow up, and the amount of smoke that might be generated by each of them. In their analysis, they chose to look at the , in which all of the atomic weapons held by both countries were used in an all-out nuclear war. In such a scenario, the researchers assumed that all of the bombs would land in either the U.S. or Russia.

The new used by the researchers is called the Community Earth System Model-Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model—version 4. All results from the model were compared to those found with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE run back in 2007.

The researchers report that both models showed a nuclear winter (with a global temperature drop of approximately 9K) resulting from such a war. Both models produced a nuclear winter lasting several years. They also showed a 30 percent global reduction in precipitation over the first few months following such a war. They further report that there were also differences in predictions—the earlier model predicted a collapse in the monsoon season and major changes to the El Niño events. And the new model predicted that the worldwide smoke coverage would last longer than the older model's results. And while there were some differences in the timing, both showed the progression of smoke coverage starting in the impacted areas, spreading over the northern hemisphere, and eventually making its way to the southern hemisphere.

Neither model was designed to provide predictions of what a major would mean for the fate of humanity—past theories have suggested such a war would result in human extinction, along with most other species. More recent predictions suggest that might not be the case, however. The researchers with this new effort found, for example, that the amount of soot making its way into the atmosphere would be far less than that released when the Chicxulub asteroid struck the planet, wiping out the dinosaurs—but not all life on the planet.


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Analysis of wildfire smoke will help calibrate climate models

More information: Joshua Coupe et al. Nuclear Winter Responses to Nuclear War Between the United States and Russia in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Version 4 and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (2019). DOI: 10.1029/2019JD030509

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Citation: New model agrees with old: Nuclear war between US and Russia would result in nuclear winter (2019, August 19) retrieved 19 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-08-nuclear-war-russia-result-winter.html
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Aug 19, 2019
It's long past due time for a comprehensive nuclear weapons ban.

Aug 19, 2019
It's long past due time for a comprehensive nuclear weapons ban.
Easy - redesignate them as explosives for use off-planet. Instant reduction.

But perhaps we have a cure for AGW? Find suitable hydrocarbon reservoirs, ignite them with nukes, and get out the overcoats.

You all seem to think its such a crisis, heres a solution that ought to work.

Aug 19, 2019
Probably the greatest threat humanity currently faces is an idiot who says one side can win by striking first in a pre-emptive fashion, and who then withdraws from international treaties, which is technically a violation of the treaties when espousing first-strike strategy -- as if the rest of the world needs to wait for the actual strike to occur before declaring the violation -- it should be obvious to all concerned that's not a survivable, much less winnable strategy. The violators need to be disarmed until legitimate leadership can be established.

Aug 19, 2019
It's long past due time for a comprehensive nuclear weapons ban.


build Orion. convert bombs into propulsion. Name her the Robert A Heinlein

Aug 19, 2019
We are in the process of spending well over a trillion dollars to refurbish our nuclear deterrent. New missile submarine fleet, new stealth bomber fleet, and upgrades to other legacy systems as well as new militarized smallsat constellations. Better to move the bombs a couple months away into deep space on "space boomers." It would cost about the same. The trick is bringing water up from the Moon which requires 22 times less energy than bringing it up from Earth. Human crewed spaceships will require one thousand ton cosmic ray water shields and will have to use bombs for propulsion. I call it the "Parker-Dyson-Spudis Continuum" (after the scientists who have done all the work on radiation-bomb propulsion- and lunar resources). The other superpowers would follow our lead and this would ratchet down the present launch-on-warning situation. We could then also protect the Earth from comet and asteroid impacts. A lunar return and the NASA SLS Space Launch System should be a priority.

Aug 19, 2019
who then withdraws from international treaties, which is technically a violation of the treaties when espousing first-strike strategy
No, its the nations who do not adhere to those treaties and the weak leaders who do not call them on it.

"Trump's sudden decision follows a years-long U.S.-Russian dispute about whether Moscow has developed and deployed a prohibited missile, known by its apparent Russian designation 9M729... "Russia has violated the agreement; they have been violating it for many years," Trump said after a Oct. 20 campaign rally in Elko, Nevada. "And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to."

-ditto with Iran and north korea. Wars start when the enemy is allowed to gain an unfair and illegal advantage.

Obviously.

Aug 19, 2019
lol, warmongers hate science.

Aug 19, 2019
the amount of soot making its way into the atmosphere would be far less than that released when the Chicxulub asteroid struck the planet, wiping out the dinosaurs—but not all life on the planet.

Bull crap.
That asteroid impact forced an even greater amount of moisture into the atmosphere, which was far more effective at blocking solar radiation. Yet, that did not trigger the extinction. It was the subsequent precipitation that brought millennia of toxic volcanic emissions down which devastated life.

Aug 20, 2019
Wars start when the enemy is allowed to gain an unfair and illegal advantage.

Obviously.
Wars start with the first casualty -- the truth

Aug 20, 2019
The worst-case scenario is not both countries using all their nuclear weapons, this is a fictive scenario. The worst case scenario is probably more about a few dozen bombs being thrown. Frankly, a few bombs should be enough to remove all executive power and put one of the countries to a halt.

And i doubt anyone would be stupid enough to first declare the war on radio or TV, just throw the goddamn bombs and leave the enemy pondering if what they see on their radars is indeed a threat or not.

Aug 20, 2019
Wars start when the enemy is allowed to gain an unfair and illegal advantage.

Obviously.
Wars start with the first casualty -- the truth
"Hitler promised that Anschluss was the end of his expansionist aims and not wanting to risk war, the other countries did nothing.

"Hitler did not keep his word and six months later demanded that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany. Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Britain, met with Hitler three times during September 1938 to try to reach an agreement that would prevent war. The Munich Agreement stated that Hitler could have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia provided that he promised not to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia. Hitler was not a man of his word and in March 1939 invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia."

-Thats how wars start. Liars such as yourself make it happen.

Aug 20, 2019
-Thats how wars start. Liars such as yourself make it happen.
*spits coffee* huh?

-ditto with Iran and north korea. Wars start when the enemy is allowed to gain an unfair and illegal advantage.

Obviously.


Wow, how can one be that naive? Just take 1 minute to read a different perspective on Trump's wise moves regarding the INF treaty:
https://www.rt.co...e-tests/

Aug 26, 2019
An earlier study indicated a limited nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan with as few as 100 nuclear weapons would produce a similar effect. The temperature drop wasn't as sever as 9 Kelvin but since there isn't another Earth as a control group such experiments are best avoided.

Aug 26, 2019
Hot off the presses: Trump wants to bomb hurricanes with nuclear weapons.

Does he have the slightest idea how itsy bitsy a nuclear weapon is compared to a hurricane?

Talk about spitting into the wind.

Cranks can't count.

Aug 26, 2019
Just for the math addicts:

Total power of the average hurricane: 6.0 x 10^14 watts. That's joules per second.

Total energy (remember, it's not power- now it's about how many joules) of a 1MT nuclear weapon: 4.184 x 10^15 joules.

This means a hurricane is about a 1MT nuclear explosion every 10 seconds. They generally go on for days on end.

Yep, spitting into the wind. Might even make it worse, by adding heat, and hey, who wants a radioactive hurricane? Seriously, is this for real?

Aug 26, 2019
Today has to be the DUH! Day of ScienceX. I 'never' would have figured that out, when I was 5. Hint: we were well aware of that when I was a kid during the Cold War, especially since we lived in Germany when the Berlin War was build. That was DECADES AGO. Specifically 60 years ago. (Still have 3 more Duh! articles to post Duh! on.)

Aug 26, 2019
If you hate wars, fight dictatorships.
Nuclear weapons have prevented more wars than "good intentions".
Dictators love to create external menaces to distract people from internal problems, misery & oppression.
From 1945 up to now,~6x more people was killed by pets than by nuclear weapons.
Renewables & Fossil Fuels cause more fatalities per minute than all nuclear energy industry in 60 years.
death/TWh: coal 161.00, oil 36.00, solar 0.44, wind 0.15, hydro 0.10, nuclear 0.04
https://pbs.twimg...rmat=jpg
https://pbs.twimg...rmat=jpg

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