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Pacific nuclear bomb tests interfered with rain patterns in UK

Pacific nuclear bomb tests made it rain 1,000s of miles away in UK, Reading University scientists find, Berkshire Live 

During the Cold War, detonations in locations as remote as the Nevada Desert or Pacific islands had unforeseen consequences elsewhere in the world  By Ian Hughes 17 MAY 2020  

Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War changed rainfall patterns thousands of miles from the detonation sites, according to scientists at the University of Reading.

They found electric charge released by radiation from detonations – carried out predominantly by the US and Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s – affected rain clouds at the time.

It means tests in remote locations such as the Nevada Desert or Pacific islands, had an effect on precipitation as far away as the Shetlands – 300 miles off the coast of Scotland.

A study used historic records between 1962-64 from a research station on the Scottish island.

Scientists compared days with high and low radioactively-generated charge, finding that clouds were visibly thicker, and there was 24 per cent more rain on average on the days with more radioactivity…………

It is thought researchers will now have a better understanding of important weather processes.

Although detonations were carried out in remote parts of the world during the Cold War, radioactive pollution spread widely throughout the atmosphere.

Radioactivity ionises the air, releasing electric charge.

The researchers, from the Universities of Reading, Bath and Bristol, studied records from well-equipped Met Office research weather stations at Kew near London and Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.

Shetland, in particular, was relatively unaffected by other sources of anthropogenic pollution.  This made it well suited as a test site to observe rainfall effects which, although likely to have occurred elsewhere too, would be much more difficult to detect.

The Shetland rainfall on more than 150 days showed differences which vanished after the major radioactivity episodes were over.

The study was published in Physical Review Letters.


May 17, 2020 - Posted by | radiation, UK, weapons and war

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