A nuclear war is destructive in every sense of the word. But little did we know that a nuclear war can also alter the face of the planet and might trigger a mini ice-age, and it is feared to be worse than the effects of climate change caused by fossil-fuels.
Nuclear wars might lower the Earth’s average surface temperature by 7°C which experts refer to as a ‘decade-long mini ice age’.
This is about 2 degrees colder from the last ice age some 20,000 years ago. But according to Alan Robock at Rutgers University, although colder, the mini ice age will be shorter but enough to cause devastating farm collapse which can eventually lead to starvation.
How bad is it if it happens? According to the same report “It’s hard to predict exactly how devastating this famine would be if thousands of Earth’s largest cities were reduced to rubble and global infrastructure collapsed, but whatever small fraction of all humans don’t succumb to starvation, hypothermia or epidemics would need to cope with roving, armed gangs desperate for food.”
Because of these, experts say that we are looking at a future of climate change due to the burning of fossil-fuel and climate change due to nuclear war.
Although there are no looming nuclear wars between nations, they said that some countries are building nuclear weapons, which is capable of initiating the mini-ice age. The report said that “the nuclear war triggering the mini ice age will most likely start by accident or miscalculation.”
The organization called Future of Life has proven that it is possible for an accident in this magnitude to happen. They said there were examples from history which can show that the theory could actually be correct.
One famous incident happened in 1961 when two nuclear bombs accidentally dropped in North Carolina due to a bomber losing its wing. One of the two bombs landed safely with a parachute, the other broke on impact. But because of the failure of two ignition wires to cross, a nuclear bomb explosion was prevented.
This climate change due to nuclear war was already described by scientists in 1983 according to a report. They have referred to it as a ‘nuclear winter’ which pertains to the mini ice age. The cause of this is quite simple, researchers found out that the smoke from nuclear weapons would form a global ‘stratospheric’ smoke layer that will envelop the Earth and will last for about 10 years. This means the smoke fly higher than commercial jets where no rain can dissolve them. In turn it will be blocking the heat from the sun. Normal smoke from fire doesn’t reach the atmosphere, but nuclear smoke will endanger the Earth.
Researchers suggests that to prevent this mini ice age, we should all remain vigilant and work against these two types of climate change, from nuclear wars and from fossil-fuels.
But the efforts of nations to build nuclear weaponry, like the US and Russia, poses a threat to both mankind and to Earth.