Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nuclear Weapons, a Cure to Global Warming

Nuclear Bomb Global Warming PeaceThe question roaming on the chalkboards of scientists and in the cabinet of politicians is: Could a nuclear was negate the effects of global warming. Is global warming a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear weapons? In an age where we juggle between different outcomes to the end of humanity, a nuclear blast just might be the thing to cure global warming. In this article I will discuss the different consequences of global warming in the future and the possible nuclear solutions available. I will also discuss the consequences to using such weapons in the fight against global warming.

First of All, How Does Global Warming Kill?
Famine Effects Global Warming
Global Warming is a known cause of the extinction of plant and animal life that are unable to adapt to the changing climate. It is also known to augment the natural disasters influenced by the weather such as heavy rains, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. The future effects of global warming will most probably be much worse than the ones encountered in the beginning of the 21st century. As early as the mid 21 to 22 century, global warming will be the biggest killer of humans, flora and fauna. Global warming related deaths can take may forms but the most certain and most known will be famine. As the rainfall periods shorten and the temperature rises, many crops will fail to attain maturity resulting in a massive food shortage. This will start in the already desertic regions such as Africa and Australia where the portion of the continent covered by desert will slowly augment reducing the available fertile land. At the same time rising water levels from polar caps melting will force the population more inland. As a result, the worlds population will find themselves sandwiched between the desert and the sea. It is important to note that wealthy countries will also be greatly affected by global warming. Regions such as the Canadian Prairies and the American Great Basin Desert will deteriorate and proliferate beyond their present boundaries. Other killers of global warming will include tropical and sub-tropical diseases aflicting northern people who have no immunity towards them. They include such diseases as the West Nile Virus that will migrate from the hot to cold regions and ToMV that will do the opposite. Tomato Mosaic Tobamovirus (ToMV) is a virus observed in 1999 by Scott Rogers from Bowling Green State University that was found hibernating in the ice on the North Pole. This virus has been hibernating for more than 140,000 years under as much as 4 km of ice. Global warming will eventually thaw out these unknown viruses that could prove deadly to the human race.

How Could Nuclear Weapons Cure Global Warming?
Global Warming Industrialization Effects
First of all, "cure" is a big word when it come to global warming. This is because it is caused by human activity, the use of fossil fuels and simply anything burning from forest fires to volcanoes. Therefore, whatever the solution, the earth will always warm up. The problem lies in the fact that during the industrialization of the human race, we have sped up global warming as a rate that the environment can not follow. As most people know (if you don't more of my posts), nuclear weapons can cause what is commonly referred to as a "Nuclear Winter". An extensive analysis of the nuclear winter theory can be found in the post entitled What is Nuclear Winter and What Causes it?. The basic principle is that a nuclear blast causes a massive amount of dust to rise in the atmosphere, specifically some in the stratosphere where it can stay suspended for a prolonged period. This in turn causes less solar radiation to get to the earth and thus warm up the surface. The heat would be absorbed by the particles before it could get to the ground. The result would be an immediate decrease in temperatures at which the degree would depend on the size, location and time of the year that a nuclear blast occurs.

At what cost?
Radiation Danger Hazard Sign Pannel
Even if the nuclear solution worked perfectly, what would be the cost of this. To start with nuclear blast generate a lot of radiation that is harmful to any living organism. The initial blast generates deadly levels of radiation in the area of the blast. The second, problem lies with the blast's shockwave and heatwave which make anything in the area automatically catch on fire. The good news is that these two problems can be eliminated by detonating the bomb in a remote area. However, the next two problems don't have a solution until now. The first is the problem of the radioactive fallout. This problem has been discussed in detail in the post Is There Such a Thing as Radiation Pill?. The second problem is that the heat of the nuclear blast destroys a lot of the ozone layer near it. A nuclear blast would punch a serious hole in the ozone layer, thus augmenting UV radiation levels. The higher in altitude the detonation the more the ozone destruction. To generate dust however a surface or near surface blast would work just fine.

To conclude, until new technologies are put in place to reduce or eliminate the destruction of the ozone layer by nuclear weapons, this solution will remain only but a theory. If a nuclear war were to occur this could be one of the few advantages of it. Keep reading for future posts!