"An Assessment of the Extent of Projected Global Famine Resulting from Limited, Regional Nuclear War" by Dr Ira Helfand, an emergency medicine specialist from Massachusetts, projects "a total global death toll in the range of one billion from starvation alone."
Dr Helfand and Professor Alan Robock and Dr Owen Toon, (who will also be present at the briefing), will demonstrate that debris ejected into the atmosphere from the nuclear explosions and subsequent fires would cause sudden global cooling and decreased precipitation for up to 10 years. Shorter growing seasons with significantly lower production would result in harvest failure in many grain producing areas.
"We are ill-prepared to deal with a major fall in world food supply," says Dr Helfand. "Global grain stocks stand at 49 days, lower than at any point in the past five decades. These stocks would not provide any significant reserve in the event of a sharp decline in production. We would see hoarding on a global scale."
Professor Alan Robock, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Rutgers University, will be presenting a paper showing that even a low - yield detonation would produce enough smoke to induce significant climatic alteration on a global scale.
A paper from Dr Owen B Toon, from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, concentrates on the large global ozone losses which would follow a regional war. "If targeted at small cities, low yield weapons can produce 100 times as many fatalities and 100 times as much smoke from fires as was previously estimated for full scale nuclear wars using high-yield weapons." Toon argues that the resulting global ozone losses will threaten humans and the biota throughout the world and not just in the region of conflict.
You are invited to attend the briefing or any other part of the two-day conference at the RSM.
Royal Society of Medicine
Special report on the nuclear age
he Nuclear Age
Infrequently Asked Questions
- Why do nuclear bombs always make mushroom-shaped clouds?
- Could we destroy an asteroid on a collision course towards Earth with a nuclear missile?
- Would encasing nuclear waste in concrete and then burying it in a tectonic subduction zone, for Earth's mantle to consume, be an effective way of disposing of it?