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Mar-03-2011 02:20printcomments

NASA: Small Nuclear War Could Reverse 'Global Warming'

Many at NASA still subscribe to the idea of global warming, others point to the fact that the warming trend ended during 2007 and since then the Earth's climate has been gradually cooling.

nuclear bomb exploded from balloon; known as Operation Plumbbob /STOKES Event at the Nevada Test Site
United States Department of Energy photo of nuclear bomb exploded from balloon; known as Operation Plumbbob /STOKES Event at the Nevada Test Site. Courtesy: Institute of International Studies at the Univ. of Calif. Berkeley. iiis.berkeley.edu

(CHICAGO) - According to U.S. computer models a regional, limited nuclear war could set-off "unprecedented" worldwide cooling. Rainfall too might be affected.

This is the latest climate theory that owes much to the original promoter of nuclear winter, Dr. Carl Sagan. The pop-culture astronomer and astrophysicist who popularized the idea of a nuclear war thrusting the Earth into an extended Ice Age, also created the message plaques for the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft that went interstellar and left the solar system.

Sagan's concern focused on an all-out thermonuclear exchange between the USA and the USSR. Such destruction, he argued, could cause huge fires that would produce such great clouds of smoke and ash that sunlight would be blocked for weeks or months.

Sagan predicted that in such a bleak scenario, most humans would die from radiation poisoning, disease and starvation.

Although some believe that can no longer happen, they fail to consider that most of the Russian Federation's formidable nuclear arsenal is still targeted on American cities—and so are Chinese missiles.

Nevertheless, most Western military analysts believe that if any nuclear exchange is likely to occur it will erupt from a regional conflict such as the developing nuclear countries of Pakistan and India.

Nuclear winter versus global warming

Some scientists theorized that such a limited nuclear exchange might be sufficient to initiate enough climate cooling to reverse the effects of global warming, so NASA decided to test the probability of such an occurrence by creating a simulation using computer modeling.

Research Physical Scientist Luke Oman

NASA scientists worked with other institutions and created a hypothetical war between two countries lobbing the total equivalent of one hundred Hiroshima-type bombs. The resulting mega-tonnage of explosive was calculated at a mere three-hundredths of the estimated world nuclear arsenal.

The model revealed that the fire—originally predicted by Sagan in the last century—would choke the troposphere with about five million metric tons of black carbon. The saturated atmosphere, rising from solar heating, would drift in the upper reaches of the atmosphere diluting the light and heat of the sun and cooling the planet.

At a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., research physical scientist Luke Oman stated during a press briefing regarding the NASA research that "the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change."

Oman works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

A man-made "little Ice Age"

Although the model shows that parts of the Earth like the Antarctic and Arctic would warm slightly, the rest of the world could cool as much as 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit, causing a little Ice Age lasting several decades.

Such extended cooling would adversely affect agriculture in many parts of the world and lead to extended famines.

"Our results suggest that agriculture could be severely impacted, especially in areas that are susceptible to late-spring and early-fall frosts," Oman claimed.

"Examples similar to the crop failures and famines experienced following the Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 could be widespread and last several years," he explained.

1815 is remembered as "the year without a summer" for many of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Historically, it was a period marked by famines and political upheavals.

While many at NASA still subscribe to the idea of global warming, others point to the fact that the warming trend ended during 2007 and since then the Earth's climate has been gradually cooling.

Recently, scientists challenging the theory of global warming have countered with evidence they claim supports the idea that the world is actually moving towards a little Ice Age.

They argue that the Maunder Minimum the sun is fast approaching will last some 30 years after 2013 and will cool the Earth significantly causing a general drop in climate temperature lasting up to a century.

If those scientists are correct, a limited nuclear exchange as modeled by NASA can only exacerbate the situation, perhaps extending the natural Ice Age into one lasting thousands of years.

Originally published by: helium.com


Terrence Aym is a Salem-News.com Contributor based in Chicago, who is well known nationally for his stirring reports on the top ranked site, helium.com. Born in Minnesota, Terrence Aym grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs. Having traveled to 40 of the 50 states and lived in 7 of them, Aym is no stranger to travel. He's also spent time in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Western Africa. An executive for many years with Wall Street broker-dealer firms, Aym has also had a life-long interest in science, technology, the arts, philosophy and history. If it's still possible to be a 'Renaissance man' in the 21st Century, Aym is working hard to be one.

Aym has several book projects in the works. Media sites that have recently featured Aym, and/or discussed his articles, include ABC News, TIME Magazine, Business Insider, Crunchgear.com, Discover, Dvice, Benzinga and more recently, his work has been showing up in South Africa and Russia.

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Absurdist March 3, 2011 11:32 am (Pacific time)

Proposing limited nuclear war as a 'solution' to global warming is an incredibly myopic and misguided interpretation of this research. Global nuclear war would only exacerbate stresses on ecosystem functioning and further the damage already done by humans in the past 2000 years (much longer if you suscribe to the view that human expantion into N.A. led to the decline of mega-fauna on that continent). Articles like this are at best a bad interpretation of this researchers findings.

Damo March 3, 2011 5:04 am (Pacific time)

I am glad to see there is now a solution to global warming and that NASA are spending American tax dollars wisely

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