Feeds

Solution found for climate change: Nuclear war

Just a 'splendid little war' would do

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A solution has been found to those pesky climate change problems being caused by global warming: nuclear war.

One minor niggle: "Widespread famine and disease would likely follow," even if the war were a small-scale one, writes Charles Choi for National Geographic News, describing the study conducted by scientists from NASA and other institutions that reached this good-news/bad-new conclusion.

The group built a computer model to discover what effect a relatively low-end nuclear conflict would have – say, a spat between Pakistan and India, for example. The projected arsenal was rather wimpy: 100 Hiroshima-sized nukes.

Such a regional dust-up, the scientists determined, would cause conflagrations sufficient to loft about five million metric tons of black carbon into the lower atmosphere, where it'd be heated by solar radiation and rise into the higher atmosphere – where it would hang out for a goodly amount of time, getting in the way of sunlight.

The cooling caused by this sooty layer wouldn't end life as we know it – as might have been possible if the US and the Soviet Union had ever taken the gloves off back in the Fate of the Earth days. But it would be nasty enough.

"The effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change," researcher Luke Oman said at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science confab in Washington, DC.

As everyone except the most vehement climate-change deniers know, the earth is currently in a warming phase. The preponderence of evidence points to the rising rate of temperature increase as being anthropogenic, but the soot flying above our heads wouldn't care if you believe Al Gore or Anthony Watts – it would just want to do its part in helping to cool the earth.

"After a regional nuclear war," Choi writes, "average global temperatures would drop by 2.25 degrees F (1.25 degrees C) for two to three years afterward, the models suggest. At the extreme, the tropics, Europe, Asia, and Alaska would cool by 5.4 to 7.2 degrees F (3 to 4 degrees C), according to the models."

And this temperature drop, according to the study, would be a result of merely the 21st century equivalent of a "Splendid Little War". The computer model, based as it is on the equivalent of 100 Hiroshima Little Boys, would have to be repeated more than 30 times to equal the blastalicious power of the largest single nuke – that we know of – that was ever exploded: the Soviet Union's 50-megaton thermonuclear beasty known variously as RDS-220, Big Ivan, Tsar Bomba, and simply Big Bomb, which exhibited its heavily shielded kaboomability in 1961.

Pack 100 of those babies into your computer model, bomb boffins, and let us know what you come up with. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.