Alexandra Witze in Nature:
Even a small conflict in which two nations unleash nuclear weapons on each other could lead to worldwide famine, new research suggests. Soot from burning cities would encircle the planet and cool it by reflecting sunlight back into space. This in turn would cause global crop failures that — in a worst-case scenario — could put 5 billion people on the brink of death.
“A large percent of the people will be starving,” says Lili Xia, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who led the work. “It’s really bad.”
The research, published on 15 August in Nature Food1, is the latest in a decades-long thought experiment about the global consequences of nuclear war. It seems especially relevant today as Russia’s war against Ukraine has disrupted global food supplies, underscoring the far-reaching impacts of a regional conflict.