The preamble of the treaty to ban nuclear weapons now under consideration at the UN will be greatly strengthened if it includes a summary of the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, as described by a series of peer-reviewed studies done by prominent scientists working at major US and Swiss Universities, as well as at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. These studies are considered to be the most authoritative type of scientific research—subjected to criticism by the international scientific community before final publication in scholarly journals—and the findings of these studies remain unchallenged.
The research predicts that a nuclear war fought between emerging nuclear weapon states—with less than 1 percent of the explosive power contained in the global nuclear arsenals—can produce catastrophic long-term damage to global environment and weather. A war fought with 100 atomic bombs can result in the coldest average annual surface temperatures experienced in the last 1,000 years, and this prolonged cold (and drought) would last for several years before temperatures began to return to normal. Medical experts predict that this prolonged cold would lead to a global famine causing up to two billion people to starve to death. Climatologists also predict that such a war would cause major damage to the Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer, leading to a doubling of harmful UV-B radiation in the populated mid-latitudes.
The studies also forecast that a war fought with US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons would create post-war Ice Age weather conditions across the Northern Hemisphere in a matter of weeks. These catastrophic changes in weather would be the result of a global stratospheric smoke layer, produced by hundreds or thousands of nuclear firestorms, which would block up to 90 percent of sunlight over central North America and Eurasia