A nuclear war between the United States and Russia would cause a global faminel that could kill more than 5,000 million people, according to a study published today in the scientific journal “Nature Food”.
Climatologists from the American Rutgers University have analyzed how the soot that would be expelled into the atmosphere by the fires derived from an atomic conflict would affect global agricultural production.
The researcher Lili Xia and her group have studied six possible scenarios: five of them correspond to nuclear wars between India and Pakistan, while the sixth is a great conflict between Russia and the United States. Scientists have made their calculations “based on the size of each country’s nuclear arsenal,” details their university in a statement.
By plugging their estimates into a climate model, experts have calculated the impact that corn, rice, wheat and soybean crop production would sufferas well as the changes that grazing lands and global fishing banks would suffer.
Under the least damaging scenario, a restricted war between India and Pakistan, global average food calorie production would decline by 7% in the five years following the conflict.
In the worst case, however, that production would fall by 90% in a period of three or four years.
The decline in crops would be especially severe in the middle and high latitudes, including in the United States and Russia, major food exporters, which would have a serious impact on importing countries in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 75% of the planet would suffer famine in the worst scenarioaccording to the work led by Xia, which speculates on the possibility that agricultural production now destined for animals could serve to feed the human population at first.
Xia explained that he hopes to analyze in greater depth the effects of a nuclear war on the food chain in future works.
“The ozone layer would be destroyed by heat in the stratosphere, producing more ultraviolet radiation at the surface.. We need to understand the impact of this scenario on food production”, detailed the researcher