Researchers from a variety of universities and disciplines used advanced modeling techniques to project the intensity and death toll of a nuclear winter.

There are nine countries with nuclear arsenals and several are governed by autocrats
There are nine countries with nuclear arsenals and several are governed by autocrats

Diplomacy experts around the globe have raised the alarm that the world is dangerously close to a nuclear conflict.

The war in Ukraine and mounting tensions between China and the US have thrust nuclear responses to the forefront of the minds of citizens and politicians.

The study published in Nature did a situational analysis based on the number of nuclear weapons fired and what the impact on the climate and crop yields would be.

“Their analysis is showing something really critical to transmit: that nuclear winter is really, really bad,” Morgan Rivers of the nonprofit Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters told Science.

For its inclusion of changes in climate, crops, and fisheries, the new study is one of the most comprehensive to date and builds on past research from the Cold War era.

The researchers calculated the drop in calorie production across a range of key food groups in six different conflict scenarios.

As the circumstances worsen and more weapons are fired, food commerce patterns like international trade are removed from the simulation.

The research team accounted for last-ditch efforts where humans would eat livestock feed to survive and found these responses would do little after a large-scale nuclear conflict.

A nuclear war between the United States and Russia was the most catastrophic scenario detailed in the study, where an estimated 400billion pounds of soot in the atmosphere cause a nuclear winter.

In this worst-case scenario, 360million people would die from the blasts and resulting famine and more than five billion would be without food two years later.

In 2021, President Biden extended an agreement with Russia that limits the number of long-range nuclear weapons each country can stockpile.

The upper limits of the agreement allow for both nations to carry 1,550 nuclear warheads, which the study notes is more than 90% of the world’s total arsenal.

Even though the study is just data points and analysis, it effectively paints a visceral picture of the world after a nuclear conflict.

Many are hoping geopolitical intensity will cool soon and leaders will take an organized step back from the brink.