Structural Analysis of the Climatic Response to a Nuclear War

  • P. Carl
  • G. L. Stenchikov
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Simulation book series (ADVS.SIMULATION, volume 2)


Global and indirect consequences of nuclear warfare, which would be mediated by the atmosphere, are discussed already since the fifteeth. A definite assertion about the sign and magnitude of potential climatic effects/ however, was not achieved for long. Apart from quantitative investigation, crescent warnings of a possible climate catastrophe after an all-out nuclear exchange originated in the late seventeeth from a general increase in understanding the structure and dynamics of complex systems, from the quickly developing knowledge about paleoclimatic changes, and from global energy balance studies of climate variability and stability. A serious, quantitatively based consideration of atmospheric, climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war became available in 1982 with an international study [1], which also brought forth the startling discovery of a potential severe atmospheric impact of smoke. Due to propitious coincidence with major attention devoted to Martian dust storms, the “Nuclear Winter” theory could be quickly carved out and further developed as a well-founded scientific reasoning [2]. On the other hand, general indeterminisms (the “scenario”), poorly understood climatic feedbacks, and insufficient self-consistency and resolution of current-generation climate models span a serious range of uncertainty. Activities are worldwide in progress to narrow these margins [3]. One question is often posed in this context: What methods and what general properties of the climate system may the computational analyst rely on in this field?


Climatic Response Climate Catastrophe Paleoclimatic Change Startling Discovery Dramatic Structural Change 
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    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: “Nuclear War: The Aftermath”, AMBIO 11(1982) No. 2/3Google Scholar
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    Peterson, J.: “Scientific Studies of the Unthinkable - The Physical and Biological Effects of Nuclear War”, AMBIO 15(1986)60Google Scholar
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    Golitsyn, GS. and MC. MacCracken: “Atmospheric and Climatic Consequences of a Major Nuclear War: Results of Recent Research”, preprint UCRL-96597, LLNL, Livermore, September 1987, - to be issued by WMO/ICSUGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Stenchikov, GL. and Carl, P.: Manuscripts BA.45/46.87, MO.26.88, (a) SCOPE-ENUWAR Workshop, Bangkok, Feb. 1987: (b) SCOPE-ENUWAR Workshop, Moscow, March 1988Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Stenchikov, GL. in: “The Night After… Climatic and Biological Consequences of Nuclear War”.. ( Ye. Velikhov, Ed.), Mir Publishers, Moscow, 1985, 165 pGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akademie-Verlag Berlin 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Carl
    • 1
  • G. L. Stenchikov
    • 2
  1. 1.Central Institute for Electron PhysicsGDR Academy of SciencesBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Computing CentreUSSR Academy of SciencesMoscowUSSR

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