What is nuclear darkness?
In a nuclear war, burning cities would create millions of tons of thick, black smoke. This smoke would rise above cloud level, into the stratosphere, where it would quickly spread around the planet. A large nuclear war would produce enough smoke to block most sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface.
Smoke Surrounds the Earth After a Nuclear War
Reproduced/modified by permission of Drs. Robock, Oman and Stenchikov of Rutgers UniversityFollowing a large U.S.-Russian nuclear war, enormous fires created by nuclear explosions in cities and industrial areas cause 150 million tons of smoke to be lofted high into the stratosphere. The smoke is quickly spread around the world and forms a dense smoke layer around both Hemispheres; the smoke will remain in the stratosphere for many years and act to block sunlight from reaching the surface of the Earth. New studies predict this level of stratospheric smoke deposition will still be possible even after planned reductions in U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenals are completed under the SORT Treaty in 2012.
How would nuclear darkness cause deadly global climate change?
Massive absorption of warming sunlight by a global stratospheric smoke layer would rapidly create Ice Age temperatures on Earth . The cold would last a long time; NASA computer models predict 40% of the smoke would still remain in the stratosphere ten years after a nuclear war.
Half of 1% of the explosive power of US-Russian nuclear weapons can create enough nuclear darkness to impact global climate. 100 Hiroshima-size weapons exploded in the cities of India and Pakistan would put up to 5 million tons of smoke in the stratosphere . The smoke would destroy much of the Earth's protective ozone layer and drop temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere to levels last seen in the Little Ice Age. Shortened growing seasons could cause up to 1 billion people to starve to death.
A large nuclear war could put 150 million tons of smoke in the stratosphere and make global temperatures colder than they were 18,000 years ago during the coldest part of the last Ice Age. Killing frosts would occur every day for 1-3 years in the large agricultural regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Average global precipitation would be reduced by 45%. Earth's ozone layer would be decimated. Growing seasons would be eliminated.
A large nuclear war would utterly devastate the environment and cause most people to starve to death . Deadly climate change, radioactive fallout and toxic pollution would cause already stressed ecosystems to collapse. The result would be a mass extinction event that would wipe out many animals living at the top of the food chains - including human beings.
It only takes a few minutes to start a nuclear war that would leave the Earth uninhabitable. The U.S. and Russia keep hundreds of missiles armed with thousands of nuclear warheads on high-alert, 24 hours a day. They can be launched with only a few minutes warning and reach their targets in less than 30 minutes. A single failure of nuclear deterrence could cause these weapons to be launched in less time than it takes to read this page.
No person or nation has the right to start a war which could destroy the human race.
Nuclear weapons must be dismantled and abolished. A draft treaty, or Nuclear Weapons Convention, already exists which would ban nuclear weapons and ensure their elimination. We can and must make this happen.
Reproduced/modified by permission of American Geophysical UnionObserved Global Warming during the period 1880 through 2006 contrasted with predicted temperature drops from a range of nuclear wars. The India-Pakistan war detonated only one half of 1% of the explosive power of the currently deployed and operational U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.