Nuclear War
Following a large U.S.-Russian nuclear war, enormous fires created by nuclear explosions in cities and industrial areas cause 150 million tons of smoke to be lofted high into the stratosphere. The smoke is quickly spread around the world and forms a dense smoke layer around both Hemispheres; the smoke will remain in the stratosphere for many years and act to block sunlight from reaching the surface of the Earth. New studies predict this level of stratospheric smoke deposition will still be possible even after planned reductions in U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenals are completed under the SORT Treaty in 2012.

Summary of consequences: U.S.-Russian war producing 150 million tons of smoke

  • 2600 U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons on high-alert are launched (in 2 to 3 minutes) at targets in the U.S., Europe and Russia (and perhaps at other targets which are considered to have strategic value).
  • Some fraction of the remaining 7600 deployed and operational U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads/weapons are also launched and detonated in retaliation for the initial attacks.
  • Hundreds of large cities in the U.S., Europe and Russia are engulfed in massive firestorms which burn urban areas of tens or hundreds of thousands of square miles/kilometers.
  • 150 million tons of smoke from nuclear fires rises above cloud level, into the stratosphere, where it quickly spreads around the world and forms a dense stratospheric cloud layer. The smoke will remain there for many years to block and absorb sunlight. More