Research ArticleATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe

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Science Advances  02 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaay5478
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay5478
  • Fig. 1 The number of warheads thought to be in the arsenals of Britain (blue), France (red dashed), China (yellow dashed), India (purple), Pakistan (green), and Israel (orange) (13).

    North Korean weapons are not shown because it is uncertain whether they have an arsenal of useable weapons.

  • Fig. 2 The fatalities (solid lines) and total casualties (dashed lines) in millions, immediately following nuclear attacks, versus the number of targets.

    Results for India (A) and Pakistan (B). Colors corespond to the yield assumed.

  • Fig. 3 Mass of black carbon (BC) injected into the atmosphere after prompt rainout (300- to 150-hPa region) for a given number of targets ordered by the population.

    Indian targets are given as dotted lines, whereas Pakistan targets are given as solid lines. Color coding designates yield.

  • Fig. 4 Changes in amount of atmospheric aerosol and of solar energy at Earth’s surface after nuclear exchange.

    Visible wavelength aerosol optical depth versus time (A) and the change in shortwave surface energy relative to normal as a function of time (B) for varying amounts of BC emitted in the nuclear exchange. Color coding designates the BC injection.

  • Fig. 5 Temporal variation in global precipitation and temperature following a nuclear conflict. (A) Global average precipitation and (B) global average temperature, expressed as a percentage of control run values.

    Color coding designates the amount of BC emitted. The vertical purple bar represents the range of temperatures during the height of the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago.

  • Fig. 6 Net primary productivity after nuclear war.

    Globally integrated monthly averaged NPP as a percentage of the baseline (control run) values as a function of time: over the oceans (A) and landmasses (B). Results are shown for each of the war scenarios described in the text. Color coding designates the corresponding BC injection amounts. As in Fig. 5, the full nuclear winter injection case (150 Tg, green line) is shown for contrast. (C) Global distribution of annual average NPP for the baseline control run. (D) Change from the baseline averaged over the second calendar year following a nuclear conflict, which starts in May of year 1 for the scenario with 50-kt weapons and a 27-Tg injection of BC.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/10/eaay5478/DC1

    Fig. S1. Urban targets in table S1 scenario for 50-kt weapons.

    Fig. S2. Fatalities and BC emissions from individual targets.

    Fig. S3. Probability of fatalities or casualties as a function of distance from ground zero.

    Fig. S4. Estimated urban populations of India, Pakistan, and total for both nations.

    Fig. S5. Fraction of the injected smoke remaining in the atmosphere as a function of time.

    Fig. S6. Decline in ocean surface temperature and land surface temperature as a function of time.

    Fig. S7. Global precipitation patterns and changes following a regional nuclear war.

    Table S1. One scenario for a war between India and Pakistan.

    Table S2. Fatalities and casualties and the percentage of the urban population killed or injured.

    Table S3. Population densities within the area ignited and estimated fuel loads.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Urban targets in table S1 scenario for 50-kt weapons.
    • Fig. S2. Fatalities and BC emissions from individual targets.
    • Fig. S3. Probability of fatalities or casualties as a function of distance from ground zero.
    • Fig. S4. Estimated urban populations of India, Pakistan, and total for both nations.
    • Fig. S5. Fraction of the injected smoke remaining in the atmosphere as a function of time.
    • Fig. S6. Decline in ocean surface temperature and land surface temperature as a function of time.
    • Fig. S7. Global precipitation patterns and changes following a regional nuclear war.
    • Table S1. One scenario for a war between India and Pakistan.
    • Table S2. Fatalities and casualties and the percentage of the urban population killed or injured.
    • Table S3. Population densities within the area ignited and estimated fuel loads.

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