Scientists at Rutgers University mapped out the effects of six possible nuclear conflict scenarios.
Even a relatively small-scale conflict would have devastating consequences.
Five billion people would die in a modern nuclear war with the effects of a global famine – resulting from sunlight-blocking soot in the atmosphere – likely to far outweigh the casualties caused by deadly explosions.
Rutgers University scientists mapped the effects of six potential nuclear conflict scenarios. In the study published in the journal Nature Food, he said a full-scale war between the US and Russia would, in the worst case scenario, wipe out more than half of humanity.
The estimates were based on calculations of how much soot would enter the atmosphere from firearms ignited by the detonation of nuclear weapons. The researchers used a climate forecasting tool supported by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which allowed them to estimate the productivity of major crops on a country-by-country basis.
Even a relatively small-scale conflict would have disastrous consequences for global food production. The study suggests that a local battle between India and Pakistan would see an estimated 7% drop in crop yields within five years, while the US-Russia war saw a 90% drop in production within three to four years Will go
The researchers also considered whether using crops currently used as animal feed or reducing food waste could compensate for the losses immediately following the conflict, but concluded that the large-scale Savings in battle will be minimal.
The study comes in the wake of fears of a conflict between the US and Russia after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in April that there was a "serious" risk of a nuclear war breaking out.
"The data tells us one thing," said study co-author and professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, Alan Roecock. "We must stop nuclear war from ever happening."
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