In the context of the escalating Cold War, Russian scientists analyzed the consequences of a possible nuclear conflict and published unexpected results.
How will World War III affect the planet’s climate? What targets will the powers use nuclear strikes against? Where will the fiercest rivalry unfold and who will benefit most from the unfolding conflict?
There is a widespread belief in popular culture that a nuclear war will provoke the death of civilization. For the first time the script of Armageddon was described by science fiction writer Paul Andresen in 1947 in the work «Tomorrow’s Children». The idea became incredibly popular and later even found confirmation by leading American and Soviet physicists.
It was argued that those people who do not die in the first hours from explosions and radiation will inevitably become victims of earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis. Finally, humanity will be destroyed by the nuclear winter, which has come due to the accumulation of soot and dust in the atmosphere.
However, these subjects have nothing to do with science.
Hypothetically, nuclear strikes will be carried out on densely populated enemy cities. A powerful thermonuclear weapon will level all buildings to the ground and melt the surface, thereby blocking combustible materials. Such explosions will not cause prolonged fires and soot emissions.
According to the British scientist Fred Singer, extensive forest fires are much more dangerous for the planet, but no one will waste warheads for these purposes.
However, in 1991, the United States accidentally
In addition, over 80 years of nuclear weapons testing, about 2,000 warheads have been detonated. However, nothing catastrophic happened: the temperature did not drop, earthquakes and hurricanes were not noticed. The concept of a nuclear winter has been dispelled.
For modern warheads, the main damaging factor is the shock wave and light radiation. To achieve the greatest destruction, they will be blown up at an altitude of 1.5 km from the earth’s surface.
The approximate area of destruction in a megaton nuclear explosion is 176.5 km². Almost 14 of these bombs will have to be detonated to destroy Moscow. Not to mention the rest of the cities of Russia and the world.
Radiation is carried by dust and wind. But the higher the explosion, the lower the concentration of radioactive fallout. In turn, if you detonate a bomb closer to the ground, then due to the landscape, the shock wave will lose strength.
Most importantly, fallout is not a long-term threat. A good example is Chernobyl. In terms of radioactive contamination, it was equivalent to about 40 modern nuclear warheads. However, the region did not turn into a desert. On the contrary, today it is the richest region in Europe in flora and fauna.
And what about people? The United States and Russia in service
According to researchers from the United States, at best, a Russian missile strike would kill up to 100 million Americans. This will not affect the general human population in any way.
Nevertheless, the scenario of a nuclear war remains frightening and dangerous for the planet; not a single developed country and not a single rational person in the world wants to implement it.