That level of warfare wouldn't just kill millions of people locally, said CU Boulder's Brian Toon, who led the research published today in the journal Science Advances. It might also plunge the entire planet into a severe cold spell, possibly with temperatures not seen since the last Ice Age.
That's one way to counteract global warming. Not a good way, though.
"This is a war that would have no precedent in human experience."
Of course it has a precedent: when America dropped nuclear bombs on Japan.
Based on their analysis, the devastation would come in several stages. In the first week of the conflict, the group reports that India and Pakistan combined could successfully detonate about 250 nuclear warheads over each other's cities.
Do they really think the rest of the world would stand back for a week while India and Pakistan throw nuclear bombs at each other? America, Russia, and various other countries have sophisticated tracking systems. I think they'd go apeshit a couple minutes after the first launch. Of course, they might just make matters worse, but I like to think people would generally TRY to quash a nuclear war. After all, we don't have a Planet B.
That smoke would block sunlight from reaching the ground, driving temperatures around the world down by an average of between 3.5-9 degrees Fahrenheit for several years. Worldwide food shortages would likely come soon after.
That would impact developing nations more than developed ones, since people now have the technology to raise food under artificial lights. Shortages, sure, but the death toll would be uneven.
"Our experiment, conducted with a state-of-the-art Earth system model, reveals large-scale reductions in the productivity of plants on land and of algae in the ocean, with dangerous consequences for organisms higher on the food chain, including humans
Don't forget rats are edible, more or less. So are crickets and earthworms. And some fungi! When things are dying in droves, detritivores boom.
Toon recognizes that the scope of such a war may be hard for people to wrap their heads around. But he hopes that the study will show people around the world that the end of the Cold War didn't eliminate the risk of global nuclear war.
As long as there have been nuclear bombs, there has been a risk of global nuclear war, and it is going to stay that way until people collectively decide they don't want that anymore.
"Hopefully, Pakistan and India will take note of this paper," he said.
If they do, it'll be to cheer at the idea of destroying their enemy.
"But mostly, I'm concerned that Americans aren't informed about the consequences of nuclear war."
They've been told about it in school. Most haven't paid attention. It also doesn't matter, since they're not in charge of what happens. That includes the great garbage fire himself. Nobody in America is going to stop this shit. It's up to India and Pakistan to pull their heads out of their asses.