A new study has shown that a major nuclear war could have a devastating impact on agriculture and lead to global famine that could kill up to 5 billion people. This was stated by climatologists from Rutgers University (New Jersey), according to NewScientist.
Studies in the 1980s also showed that in the event of a nuclear war, firestorms could rise, which would expel soot clouds into the stratosphere, block sunlight and cause a “nuclear winter”. Now American scientists have modeled six options for a nuclear conflict, depending on its scale and their impact on the global food system. It turned out that even a relatively small nuclear war could lead to hundreds of millions of people starving to death. In the event of a larger conflict, billions could die.
The most "favorable" scenario - a war between India and Pakistan - involves the exchange of 100 15-kiloton bombs, as a result of which 5 billion kilograms of soot will be released into the atmosphere. The most ambitious scenario - an exchange of 4,400 100-kiloton bombs between seven countries - could lead to the formation of 100 billion kilograms of soot. Subsequent cooling, changes in precipitation, etc. will affect the productivity of major crops and fisheries.
In the most “favorable” scenario, about 27 million people would have died as a result of the explosions, and 255 million would have died of starvation in the second year after the war. The number of calories consumed will decrease by an average of 8% worldwide.
The most ambitious scenario would result in the direct death of 360 million people and leave more than 5 billion people without enough food. The cold snap and the reduction of agriculture will affect the nuclear powers in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, including the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, to the greatest extent.
The researchers did not take into account that people can adapt to new conditions, such as eating seaweed or insects, on the assumption that these changes will not happen quickly enough.
The article was published in the journal Nature Food.