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

Abstract

Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [8]; ORCiD logo [9]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States). Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Lab.
  3. Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ (United States). Dept. of Environmental Sciences
  4. Federation of American Scientists, Washington, DC (United States)
  5. Natual Resources Defense Council, New York, NY (United States)
  6. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Physics
  7. Univ. of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Port Isabel, TX (United States). School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences; Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Inst. of Arctic and Alpine Research
  8. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Inst. of Arctic and Alpine Research. Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  9. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER). Earth and Environmental Systems Science Division
OSTI Identifier:
1626046
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Science & Technology - Other Topics

Citation Formats

Toon, Owen B., Bardeen, Charles G., Robock, Alan, Xia, Lili, Kristensen, Hans, McKinzie, Matthew, Peterson, R. J., Harrison, Cheryl S., Lovenduski, Nicole S., and Turco, Richard P. Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aay5478.
Toon, Owen B., Bardeen, Charles G., Robock, Alan, Xia, Lili, Kristensen, Hans, McKinzie, Matthew, Peterson, R. J., Harrison, Cheryl S., Lovenduski, Nicole S., & Turco, Richard P. Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aay5478.
Toon, Owen B., Bardeen, Charles G., Robock, Alan, Xia, Lili, Kristensen, Hans, McKinzie, Matthew, Peterson, R. J., Harrison, Cheryl S., Lovenduski, Nicole S., and Turco, Richard P. Tue . "Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aay5478. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1626046.
@article{osti_1626046,
title = {Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe},
author = {Toon, Owen B. and Bardeen, Charles G. and Robock, Alan and Xia, Lili and Kristensen, Hans and McKinzie, Matthew and Peterson, R. J. and Harrison, Cheryl S. and Lovenduski, Nicole S. and Turco, Richard P.},
abstractNote = {Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2° to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.aay5478},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 10,
volume = 5,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

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