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How even small nuclear war would kill billions in apocalyptic famine

 https://www.9news.com.au/national/even-small-nuclear-war-would-kill-billions-from-famine/0aadd094-e5be-471f-8278-b8bf485f759a By Mark Saunokonoko • Senior Journalist Aug 16, 2022,

Australia may be the best place in the world to shelter if nuclear war broke out, a study has predicted, although an “influx of refugees” from Asia and other regions would likely rush the country to try and survive the atomic holocaust.

Various apocalypse scenarios showed even a small nuclear war would cause devastating climate chaos, plunging the world into mass famine and starving billions to death.

The study estimated more than 2 billion people would die from a contained nuclear war between India and Pakistan, while more than 5 billion around the world would perish inside two years if the US and Russia launched thousands of nukes at each other.

Nuclear strikes on major cities and industrial areas would unleash massive firestorms, the peer-reviewed study said, injecting soot into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and severely limiting food production.

Such catastrophic “soot loadings” would cause at least 10-15 years of disruption to global climate, researchers said.

As land and ocean food production faltered, and in the face of worsening hunger, the study said food exporting countries such as Australia would hunker down and hoard supplies.

“Wherever there’s scarcity, you start to see more conflicts,” Dr Ryan Heneghan, a co-author of the study from Queensland University of Technology, told 9news.com.au.

“Whether that makes Australia a (post-nuclear war) target, I don’t know.”

Being a food exporter and its location in the southern hemisphere, away from likely conflict zones, were the key factors that meant Australia was able to weather a nuclear catastrophe better than most, Heneghan said, with New Zealand not far behind.

“Australia has some resilience if there were drops in food productivity because of changes in climate caused by a nuclear war,” he said.

“We already produce more than enough food for our population.”

But waves of migrants would inevitably put “pressures” on any Australian stockpiles.

One factor not included in the models, but which could seriously affect Australia’s ability to cope, was the country’s lack of domestic fuel supplies, Heneghan said.

“Australia isn’t energy independent.

“So we would probably have shortages of fuel.”

Australia, the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the US and Brazil, would face huge challenges trying to transport food from agricultural heartlands into big, densely populated urban centres, he said.

“Even though we might make enough food, we might not be able to move it to where it needs to go,” he said, calling that a “big caveat” to the study’s models.

Researchers modelled the impacts of six atmospheric soot-injection scenarios, based on one week of nuclear war, on crop and fish supplies and other livestock and food production.

Even if humans reduced food waste reduction and began to eat crops grown primarily as animal feed and biofuel, researchers predicted livestock and aquatic food production could not compensate for reduced crop output in most nations.

Any nuclear weapon detonation that produces more than 5 teragrams (5 trillion grams) of soot, such as 100 warheads fired between India and Pakistan, would likely cause mass food shortages in almost all countries, the study said.

A nuclear war between the US and Russia could send more than 150 teragrams of soot into the stratosphere.

The bushfires that swept across Australia in 2019-20 generated 0.3 – 1 teragrams of smoke, which swirled around the world and lingered for many months.

August 14, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war

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