A nuclear war between the United States and Russia would provoke a global famine that could kill more than 5,000 million of people. This is the warning contained in a study published in the scientific journal ‘Nature Food’, in which climatologists from Rutgers University analyze how the soot that would be expelled into the atmosphere by fires derived from an atomic conflict would affect global agricultural production.
Researcher Lili Xia and her team have analyzed six possible scenarios: five of them correspond to nuclear wars between India and Pakistan, while the sixth is a great conflict between Washington and Moscow. Scientists have made their calculations based on the “size of each country’s nuclear arsenal,” as detailed by the aforementioned university in a statement collected by Efe.
By plugging their estimates into a climate model, the experts have calculated the impact of these potential conflicts on crop production. corn, rice, wheat and soyas well as the changes that the lands of grazing and global banks fishing.
The least damaging scenario corresponds to a restricted war between India and Pakistan: in it, the world’s average production of food calories would decrease by 7% in the following five years. In the worst case, however, production would fall by 90% in a period of three or four years.
The decline in crops would be especially severe in the middle and high latitudes, including the United States and Russia, major food exporters, which would have a serious impact on importing countries in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 75% of the planet would suffer famine in the worst case scenario, according to the study led by Xia, which speculates on the possibility that the agricultural production that is now destined for animals could serve to feed the human population at first.
On the other hand, the researcher has indicated that she hopes to analyze in greater depth the effects of a nuclear war on the food chain. “The ozone layer would be destroyed by heat in the stratosphere, producing more ultraviolet radiation at the surface. We need to understand the impact of that scenario on food production,” she warned.