In just one month after a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States or India and Pakistan, average global temperatures would drop by 13 degrees Fahrenheit — a larger temperature change than in the last ice age — according to climate modeling by Maroon and collaborators from around the world. The research team, led by Louisiana State University professor of oceanography and coast sciences Cheryl Harrison, published their findings July 7 in the journal AGU Advances.
Even setting aside radioactive fallout, the consequences on land would be dire, including widespread crop failures. But in just a year, the planet’s interconnected oceans would enter a state unfamiliar to scientists like Maroon who study the way oceans have changed on much longer time scales. And, unlike effects on the atmosphere and on land, oceans would not fully recover within the 30-year time period covered by the researchers’ simulations of nuclear conflicts.“
Changes in the ocean take longer than in the atmosphere or on land, but our modeling shows that even in the first year after a nuclear war the ocean circulation would have started changing drastically,” says Maroon, an expert on the interplay between the Atlantic Ocean’s complex circulation patterns and Earth’s climate.Nuclear war would turn oceans upside down, crash food web | Nuclear Information