Wednesday, 09 Apr, 2008 Science

Small Nuclear Conflict Would Be Enough to Destroy Ozone


Scientists predict that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan would lead to a destruction of ozone layer and cause disastrous consequences for the mankind.

Dr Michael Mills and his colleagues of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics created a computer model of the possible nuclear conflict between two countries that are believed to possess at least 50 weapons apiece, evaluating how much fire would be produced in this case.

The researchers concluded that a nuclear war between South Asian countries would be enough to make a big hole in the ozone layer that absorbs the sun's high frequency ultraviolet radiation, which is potentially damaging to life on earth.

More than 5 million tonnes of soot that would result from the fires in these cities will destroy the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere, while the heat from the sun will send the blackened particles in to stratosphere. Reaching the top of the stratosphere, the soot would absorb the radiation from the sun and this will lead to a chemical reaction that would destroy ozone.

The researchers warn that depletion of ozone was 20% globally over the five years and losses will continue for five additional years.

The ultraviolet radiation the mankind would be exposed to is likely to result in cancer, damage eyes and skin and lead to the destruction of plants and damage to animals.

Mills explained that this study showed that even a small exchange of nuclear power can lead to irreversible consequences.

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