Nuclear War between India and Pakistan Would Cause World Starvation, Study Says

The new study details the disturbing implications of nuclear war.
Chris Young
The photo credit line may appear like thisRomoloTavani/iStock

New research, published this week in Science Advances, details the horrible consequences of nuclear war.

The paper estimates the impact of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. Not only would this cause enormous regional devastation, but it would also have a catastrophic effect on the entire globe.


A global catastrophic event

The new research was carried out by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, as well as other institutions. The research estimated that a war between the two nations could cause between 50 million and 125 million deaths within days of a nuclear exchange.

One surprising impact of a nuclear exchange, the study says, would be the devastation to the climate caused by the smoke from fires — it would collapse entire ecosystems and destroy crops worldwide.

A nuclear winter, which would likely last for a decade, would cause worldwide starvation, leading to "collateral fatalities," the team of researchers says.

Instant climate change

As Gizmodo reports, the imagined scenario saw researchers estimate the impact of the deployment of 400 to 500 nuclear weapons. This is the predicted number of combined nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan will have, in about six years.

The weapons used for the simulation varied from 15 kilotons of TNT — similar in power to the Hiroshima bomb — to more modern weapons, with the capacity to let off a few hundred kilotons of explosive energy.

The researchers simulated a scenario in which India would deploy 100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan would deploy 150.

“War between two new, ‘smaller’ nuclear powers on the other side of the world now has the potential to plunge Earth into an ice age climate,” Alan Robock, a co-author of the new paper and researcher at the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, told Gizmodo.

“It would be instant climate change.”

There's hardly any need for more evidence to highlight the foolishness of a nuclear war. However, this new research provides a stark reminder of the worldwide catastrophic impact that could be unleashed with the press of a button.


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