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This Is How Nuclear Winter Would Affect Every Single One of Us Across The Planet via Science Alert

MIKE MCRAE

With the Cold War over and our future on fire, few of us devote much thought to nuclear winter in today’s world. Rutgers University climatologist Alan Robuck is an exception. He still thinks about it. Quite a lot, in fact.

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In this hypothetical mother of all wars, nuclear particles would be transported between the hemispheres within two weeks. Global temperatures would then plunge by around 9 degrees Celsius over the next 12 months. Depending on the modelling, this decline could continue another 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is an average, don’t forget. In many places across Europe and North America, even summer will be a frozen hellscape some 20 degrees Celsius colder than it is now, at least for a few seasons.

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Not only would a rolling winter limit plant growth, aerosols in the atmosphere could cause an average 30 percent drop in precipitation around the planet within the first few months. Within several years it could drop even further, by between 47 and 58 percent.

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While most people feared the devastating blasts and the radioactive fallout, an American atmospheric scientist by the name of Richard P. Turco was more concerned about the clouds of debris blown into the upper atmosphere.

Turco is the one who came up with the term nuclear winter – the cooling of the planet’s surface under a pall of fine dust, ash, and soot left by the intense bombing of multiple cities.

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Two years ago, the UN convened a conference to negotiate a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. So far only half of the fifty nations required as signatories have agreed to its terms. The US isn’t one of them.

Winter could still be coming.

This research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres.

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