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Title: A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security

Abstract

A limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could ignite fires large enough to emit more than 5 Tg of soot into the stratosphere. Climate model simulations have shown severe resulting climate perturbations with declines in global mean temperature by 1.8 °C and precipitation by 8%, for at least 5 y. Here we evaluate impacts for the global food system. Six harmonized state-of-the-art crop models show that global caloric production from maize, wheat, rice, and soybean falls by 13 (±1)%, 11 (±8)%, 3 (±5)%, and 17 (±2)% over 5 y. Total single-year losses of 12 (±4)% quadruple the largest observed historical anomaly and exceed impacts caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions. Colder temperatures drive losses more than changes in precipitation and solar radiation, leading to strongest impacts in temperate regions poleward of 30°N, including the United States, Europe, and China for 10 to 15 y. Integrated food trade network analyses show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the production anomaly in the first year. Persistent multiyear losses, however, would constrain domestic food availability and propagate to the Global South, especially to food-insecure countries. By year 5, maize and wheat availability would decrease by 13% globally andmore » by more than 20% in 71 countries with a cumulative population of 1.3 billion people. In view of increasing instability in South Asia, this study shows that a regional conflict using <1% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal could have adverse consequences for global food security unmatched in modern history.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [2];  [5];  [5];  [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [8];  [9];  [10];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [13]; ORCiD logo [14]; ORCiD logo [15];  [10]
  1. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Dept. of Computer Science; NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies (GISS), New York, NY (United States); Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam (Germany)
  2. Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ (United States). Dept. of Environmental Sciences
  3. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Dept. of Computer Science
  4. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam (Germany)
  5. International Inst. for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg (Austria). Ecosystem Services and Management Program
  6. Univ. of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (Austria). Inst. for Sustainable Economic Development
  7. Univ. Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette (France). Laboratorie des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environement; Swiss Federal Inst. of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dubendorf (Switzerland). Dept. of Systems Analysis
  8. Ludwig Maximilian Univ. of Munich, Munich (Germany). Dept. of Geography
  9. Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology (KIT) Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany). Atmospheric Environmental Research. Inst. of Meteorology and Climate Research
  10. NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies (GISS), New York, NY (United States); Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States). Center for Climate Systems Research
  11. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Dept. of the Geophysical Sciences
  12. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Dept. of Computer Science; Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Data Science and Learning Division
  13. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL (United States). Agricultural & Biological Engineering Dept.
  14. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States). Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Lab.; Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  15. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1625063
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 117; Journal Issue: 13; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Science & Technology - Other Topics; food system shock; | multiple breadbasket failure; cold temperature; yield response; India–Pakistan conflict; global gridded crop model intercomparison (GGCMI)

Citation Formats

Jägermeyr, Jonas, Robock, Alan, Elliott, Joshua, Müller, Christoph, Xia, Lili, Khabarov, Nikolay, Folberth, Christian, Schmid, Erwin, Liu, Wenfeng, Zabel, Florian, Rabin, Sam S., Puma, Michael J., Heslin, Alison, Franke, James, Foster, Ian, Asseng, Senthold, Bardeen, Charles G., Toon, Owen B., and Rosenzweig, Cynthia. A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919049117.
Jägermeyr, Jonas, Robock, Alan, Elliott, Joshua, Müller, Christoph, Xia, Lili, Khabarov, Nikolay, Folberth, Christian, Schmid, Erwin, Liu, Wenfeng, Zabel, Florian, Rabin, Sam S., Puma, Michael J., Heslin, Alison, Franke, James, Foster, Ian, Asseng, Senthold, Bardeen, Charles G., Toon, Owen B., & Rosenzweig, Cynthia. A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security. United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919049117
Jägermeyr, Jonas, Robock, Alan, Elliott, Joshua, Müller, Christoph, Xia, Lili, Khabarov, Nikolay, Folberth, Christian, Schmid, Erwin, Liu, Wenfeng, Zabel, Florian, Rabin, Sam S., Puma, Michael J., Heslin, Alison, Franke, James, Foster, Ian, Asseng, Senthold, Bardeen, Charles G., Toon, Owen B., and Rosenzweig, Cynthia. Mon . "A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security". United States. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919049117. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1625063.
@article{osti_1625063,
title = {A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security},
author = {Jägermeyr, Jonas and Robock, Alan and Elliott, Joshua and Müller, Christoph and Xia, Lili and Khabarov, Nikolay and Folberth, Christian and Schmid, Erwin and Liu, Wenfeng and Zabel, Florian and Rabin, Sam S. and Puma, Michael J. and Heslin, Alison and Franke, James and Foster, Ian and Asseng, Senthold and Bardeen, Charles G. and Toon, Owen B. and Rosenzweig, Cynthia},
abstractNote = {A limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could ignite fires large enough to emit more than 5 Tg of soot into the stratosphere. Climate model simulations have shown severe resulting climate perturbations with declines in global mean temperature by 1.8 °C and precipitation by 8%, for at least 5 y. Here we evaluate impacts for the global food system. Six harmonized state-of-the-art crop models show that global caloric production from maize, wheat, rice, and soybean falls by 13 (±1)%, 11 (±8)%, 3 (±5)%, and 17 (±2)% over 5 y. Total single-year losses of 12 (±4)% quadruple the largest observed historical anomaly and exceed impacts caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions. Colder temperatures drive losses more than changes in precipitation and solar radiation, leading to strongest impacts in temperate regions poleward of 30°N, including the United States, Europe, and China for 10 to 15 y. Integrated food trade network analyses show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the production anomaly in the first year. Persistent multiyear losses, however, would constrain domestic food availability and propagate to the Global South, especially to food-insecure countries. By year 5, maize and wheat availability would decrease by 13% globally and by more than 20% in 71 countries with a cumulative population of 1.3 billion people. In view of increasing instability in South Asia, this study shows that a regional conflict using <1% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal could have adverse consequences for global food security unmatched in modern history.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1919049117},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 13,
volume = 117,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {3}
}

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