Event Detail

Nobel Winner Robock on the Climate Consequences of Nuclear Conflict

Friday, April 10, 2009

GoalFive of Harvey Mudd College (HMC) with the support of the
Center for Social Inquiry
at Pitzer College

is proud to announce a lecture by

Alan Robock of Rutgers University

on the

Climatic Consequences of Regional Nuclear War


April 10th at 4:15 p.m.
Edythe and Eli Broad Center 
Performance Space
Pitzer College

Dr. Robock is a professor of climatology at Rutgers who has done work on geoengineering, the effect of volcanic eruptions on climate, and nuclear winter.  Professor Robock is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007 with Vice-President Al Gore.  Professor Robock has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, including work in both Science and Nature.

The abstract for Dr. Robok’s talk follows:

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan, with each country using 50 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs as airbursts on urban areas, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and global-scale ozone depletion. This scenario, using less than 0.03% of the explosive power of the current global nuclear arsenal, would produce so much smoke from the resulting fires, that it would plunge the Earth to temperatures colder than those of the Little Ice Age of the 16th to 19th centuries, shortening the growing season around the world and threatening the global food supply. This surprising conclusion is the result of new research published in 2007 and 2008 by a team of scientists who produced the pioneering work on nuclear winter in the 1980s (available at http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/). Furthermore, although the total number of nuclear weapons in the world is about 1/3 of the peak number in the 1980s, a large-scale conflict between the U.S. and Russia could still produce nuclear winter, and the effects of regional and global nuclear war would last for more than a decade, much longer than previously thought. Nuclear proliferation continues, with nine nuclear states now, and more working to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. The continued environmental threat of the use of even a small number of nuclear weapons must be considered in nuclear policy deliberations in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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