Document Detail

Massive global ozone loss predicted following regional nuclear conflict.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18391218     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We use a chemistry-climate model and new estimates of smoke produced by fires in contemporary cities to calculate the impact on stratospheric ozone of a regional nuclear war between developing nuclear states involving 100 Hiroshima-size bombs exploded in cities in the northern subtropics. We find column ozone losses in excess of 20% globally, 25-45% at midlatitudes, and 50-70% at northern high latitudes persisting for 5 years, with substantial losses continuing for 5 additional years. Column ozone amounts remain near or <220 Dobson units at all latitudes even after three years, constituting an extratropical "ozone hole." The resulting increases in UV radiation could impact the biota significantly, including serious consequences for human health. The primary cause for the dramatic and persistent ozone depletion is heating of the stratosphere by smoke, which strongly absorbs solar radiation. The smoke-laden air rises to the upper stratosphere, where removal mechanisms are slow, so that much of the stratosphere is ultimately heated by the localized smoke injections. Higher stratospheric temperatures accelerate catalytic reaction cycles, particularly those of odd-nitrogen, which destroy ozone. In addition, the strong convection created by rising smoke plumes alters the stratospheric circulation, redistributing ozone and the sources of ozone-depleting gases, including N(2)O and chlorofluorocarbons. The ozone losses predicted here are significantly greater than previous "nuclear winter/UV spring" calculations, which did not adequately represent stratospheric plume rise. Our results point to previously unrecognized mechanisms for stratospheric ozone depletion.
Michael J Mills; Owen B Toon; Richard P Turco; Douglas E Kinnison; Rolando R Garcia
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2008-04-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  105     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2008 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-04-09     Completed Date:  2008-06-10     Revised Date:  2010-09-22    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  5307-12     Citation Subset:  IM    
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, 392 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0392, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Air Movements
Models, Chemical*
Nitrogen Oxides
Nuclear Warfare*
Ultraviolet Rays
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Chlorofluorocarbons; 0/Nitrogen Oxides; 0/Smoke; 10028-15-6/Ozone

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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