Nuclear Winter? NO. Hélas.

Nuclear Winter Is Fake News. Nuclear war can, unfortunately, be fought:

Abstract: A little bit of thinking considering the largest H bombs exploded, volcanoes erupting, and recent giant fires in Kuwait, Indonesia, show that the hypothesized “observational” input on the Nuclear Winter theory was obviously false, not to say fake: H-bomb explosions cannot possibly have the cooling effect of a serious volcano: the material lifted by H bombs is neither enough, nor of the right quality, nor lifted high enough to cool the atmosphere as large volcanoes do. And the smoke of the subsequent fires, laden with carbon black, would not rise high enough for severe global effect as the eruption of a volcano such as Tambora.


Castle Bravo H Bomb, 15 Megatons: Stronger Than Expected, Because, Unexpectedly, Lithium7, not just Lithium6 fabricated fast neutrons and Tritium . Severe Fall-Out. Yet, Nothing Like Tambora's Eruption In 1814. No Nuclear Winter

Castle Bravo H Bomb, 15 Megatons, Larger US Explosion: Stronger Than Expected, Because, Unexpectedly, Lithium7, not just Lithium6, fabricated fast neutrons and Tritium . Severe Fall-Out. Yet, Nothing Like Tambora’s Eruption In 1814. No Nuclear Winter

We have lived, we still live, through the age of bogus theories, bogus, fake, false systems of thought, which we are supposed to adore like the “Golden Calf” of old.

Is this coming to an end? The Internet is putting a dent into old fashion gullibility, by exposing the cognitively innocent, the naive, and the nefarious psycho-rigid to alternative realities. 

Much of Economics, Islam, “Liberalism”, “Existentialism”, “Postmodernism”, “Neoconservatism”, let alone “Marxism”, or even small-minded “Darwinism”, unthinking assertions on allegedly impervious ice sheets, and other aspects of the CO2 crisis, is bogus, biased, pseudo-science, fake, false, even nefarious.

I just discovered (personally; it turns out some deep minds like F. Dyson, had figured it out long ago) that the famed theory known as “Nuclear Winter” was bogus. That came after an esteemed commenter on this site asked me a question about it. I had always “believed” there could be a nuclear winter

I have no computation to show, but, come to think of it, I don’t believe in nuclear winter. What I have looked at is not computation, but pictures. A picture can be worth a thousand computations, especially if it contradicts them.

For example, according to classical aerodynamics, bees can’t fly: they are heavy, they can lift with their small wings. However, fly they do: the picture of a bee flying is worth a thousand computations made with insufficient theories.

(It is likely that, thanks to their twisting wings, bees generate vortices, and vortices can be mighty: straight wingtips generate vortices which slow standard Twentieth Century planes down; when that was discovered, wingtips were made to reduce vortices; conversely, bees use that effect in reverse!)

GlouconX, an esteemed contributor to this site asked:

Hi Patrice:

I’ve been meaning to ask for your expertise on this. Apparently, scientific studies show that an even a small war with much smaller weapons than countries currently have would still doom the planet with a catastrophic nuclear winter. This means that even a small nuke power like Israel or Pakistan could extinguish the human species, does it not?

First I did not read GlouconX’s link, because the answer jumped at me. I had believed in Nuclear Winter, long ago. But then it struck me that the theory could only be false.

My answer:

I don’t want to rain on your nuclear winter, but I think those who brandish nuclear winter made a mistake. (I wrote this before researching the subject, and coming across the quotes below in, say, Wikipedia, which agree with my position that Nuclear Winter is a bogus theory.)

We have the proof, from direct observation of giant H bombs, and volcanoes exploding, to fires in Kuwait, Indonesia in the last two decades. Here is a quote from:

NASA warns of worst ever forest fires, environmental disaster, as smoke blankets six countries

“Fires in Indonesia are not like most other fires. They are extremely difficult to extinguish,” NASA says. And they’re dirty.

The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from the 1997 fires were higher than average daily emissions from the entire US economy, on at least 26 days, according to the World Resources Institute.

And this season alone, the fires have released greenhouse gases equivalent to about 600 million tons or roughly the annual carbon emission output of Germany, according to NASA scientists.”

The paper referred to by GlouconX threatens us with “five million tons of smoke” In Indonesia, we are speaking of probably more than a billion tons of smoke (adding the fine particle in the smoke, with suspended hydrocarbons, and the greenhouse gases).


Giant H-Bonbs Are Not Giant Volcanoes, Hydrocarbon Smoke, Not Sulfates:

A nuclear fireball rises very quickly, very high, bringing up plenty of soil if close to the ground, or just heated air if exploded up high. Castle Bravo’s, which was a super gigantic explosion, produced a mushroom cloud which reached 40 kilometers, and all the smoke from combustion, coming much later, will not reach that high… Differently from a super giant volcanic eruption, which sends specially absorbing materials (sulfates, SO2) extremely high.

Absolutely gigantic bombs were detonated in the past. The worst, Tsar Bomba destroyed structures 1,000 kilometers away. For a picture of Tsar Bomba and where Obama got his ideas about Pakistan:

Anyway, even the worst explosion did not have much of a durable effect on the stratosphere. The explosion of Tambora in the early 19C created a local winter, for 100 hours: total darkness, cold… Then the cold extended all over the northern hemisphere, and the following year was the one ‘without a summer’: crops failed, because there was frost all over Europe, even in July, August. But that was a volcano. None of that with 15 megatons (US) and 50 megatons (USSR) bombs. The US one, Castle Bravo, was resting on the ground: that caused maximum fall-out, 2 kilometers crater, island annihilated, mushroom cloud of atoll debris going up 40 kilometers…

Even then, no nuclear winter to speak of… Nuclear winter proponents have to face the fact that the firestorm from exploding a nuclear bomb happens after the nuclear cloud has dissipated: three hours later for Hiroshima, thanks to Japanese paper houses.

Hiroshima’s blast was 16 kilotons. To duplicate a Hiroshima firestorm by conventional explosives would have used only 1.2 kiloton. The Nagasaki blast was more powerful: 22 Kilotons TNT. However, there was no firestorm. Nuclear bombs striking modern cities, even in India and Pakistan, would collapse concrete high rises, preventing fires, or at least fires so violent they could create a pyroclastic cloud reaching the stratosphere. During the Kuwait firestorm of more than 600 wells burning, up to six million barrels a day, the clouds stayed low, only rarely reaching 6,000 meters (whereas volcanic sulfates can be thrown well over 34,000 meters… that being the altitude for Pinatubo’s eruption of 1991…)  


Wikipedia Admits Implicitly That Nuclear Winter Is Bogus:

If one reads in Wikipedia about nuclear winter, one sees this, to start with:

“Nuclear winter is the severe global-climatic-cooling-effect, HYPOTHESIZED[1][2] to occur after the ignition of a number of firestorms.[3] Such fires, which can inject soot into the stratosphere have historically occurred in a number of cities, with nuclear winter researchers using both Hamburg and the LESS FEROCIOUS Hiroshima firestorms as the principal examples.[4] However, AS FIRESTORMS ARE MOST FREQUENTLY ENCOUNTERED IN MUCH LARGER AREA WILDFIRES, THESE LATTER FIRES ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TODAY in assessing both the initial and present-day “nuclear winter” computer models.”

My point exactly.

A debate occurred in Nature in 2011. As Wikipedia puts it:

….”As MIT meteorologist Kerry Emanuel similarly wrote a review in nature that the winter concept is “notorious for its lack of scientific integrity” due to the unrealistic estimates selected for the quantity of fuel likely to burn, the imprecise GCM/global circulation models used, and ends by stating that the evidence of other models, point to substantial scavenging of the smoke by rain.[193] Emanuel would also make an “interesting point” about questioning proponent’s objectivity when it came to strong emotional or political issues that they hold.[194] Seitz also contends that many others are reluctant to speak out for fear of being stigmatized as closet Dr. Strangeloves, physicist Freeman Dyson of Princeton for example stated “It’s an absolutely atrocious piece of science, but I quite despair of setting the public record straight.”[195] Stephen Schneider for example was labelled a “fascist” for writing the critical paper, “Nuclear Winter Reappraised” according to Rocky Mountain News.”

It is characteristic of the PC disease: from pure Intellectual Fascism, many subjects are supposed to have PC assessments, and any deviation from the official PC view is characterized as “fascist”.


Unfortunately, the truth is worse than that: a nuclear war can be fought,

and it does not have to be small… So my angle is quite different. I don’t believe that exploding thousands of H bombs would have a significant effect on the climate (so the nuclear winter hypothesis is false, IMNSHO…). It’s true Pinatubo, the volcano, lowered temps by .5 Centigrade, worldwide. But the damned volcano sent very fine particles at an incredible height. H bombs won’t do that.

As I said, the truth is worse: nuclear war can be fought. It will have very adverse consequences, but it can be fought. It will kill billions, indirectly, by disrupting supplies, worldwide, starving people, exposing them to disease, secondary wars, cannibalism. But it can be fought.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the US systematically exposed soldiers and contractors, not just animals, to nuclear explosions. Once five guys were directly below an exploding  nuclear warhead in an air to air missile (detonation at 5,000 meters, 1.5 kt warhead). Photographers went from explosion to explosion, setting cameras a few hundred meters away, which took millions of pictures per seconds (most of them still classified). One of the most experienced of these photographers laconically commented that, whatever the H-bomb, he felt confident he knew what to do and how to survive it from some distance away… After the initial blinding flash which makes everything white, the fireball is exquisitely beautiful, with its sky filling ultra violet glow.  

One Triumphant class French sub is undetectable, with its jet propulsion.

Triumphant carries 16 inter oceanic M51 missiles with ten MIRVs, each 150 kt (ten Hiroshima). One such missile could take out New York conurbation (pop 16 million). One, a single one, rogue sub of that class could basically kill half of the US, with a bit of luck…

We know that during the Cuban Missile crisis, one admiral, who was there mostly by accident, stopped the commander of a sub and the political/communist officer to fire a nuclear armed torpedo at an US carrier…

This means someone like Kim will be able to blackmail the US, within 5 years he basically announced for the New Year…

As Trump said, it won’t happen. No need to see Hitler getting ready this time, better than last time. As it is the West, if Russia stays neutral, can easily defang the rest of the world nuclearly, now.

If I were president, I would go see Putin, and have a frank discussion. US “INTELLECTUALS” misadvised big time the leaders of Russia in the 1990s… This has to be straightened out, and the competition with Russia should stop.

The danger of nukes is that they are city killers, and the tech to stop them, when they streak down at Mach 25, for sure does not really exist (lasers being the grail there… but lasers of a power we don’t have yet…)

Nuclear war can be fought, and it will be fought, lest measures are taken now. The Five Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have no interest, and will have long no interest, whatsoever, to engage in nuclear war (they all control huge territories over land, and, or, sea (the latter as France, the US and the UK do). But plenty of other powers could have at some point interest to engage in war (the prime example being North Korea, Pakistan’s Wahhabists, another…).

To cut these dreadful possibilities down, one has to dramatically reduce the nuclear weapons arsenals. Start with Launch On Warning.

This is all the more urgent as “Nuclear Winter” has scared people away from nuclear war. Earlier, the exaggerated  fear of nuclear fallout scared people away from nuclear war. Extreme fear of fallout was justified in the 1950s, when the giant H bombs were tested: lack of precision in delivery made the military go for giant explosions. Nowadays military warheads have to be smaller (to be accompanied with lures and other devices) and precision is extreme.

Nowadays, a nuclear war looks, to specialists, like something that could be fought and won. The rumors have it that some Russian generals are ready to strike fear and submission in European contradictors, with a few well-placed nuclear explosions. Slipping down such a slippery slope has to be avoided. But that slippery slope will be best avoided by understanding exactly which consequences nuclear war entails. Nuclear winter is not one of these consequences.

Patrice Ayme’

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10 Responses to “Nuclear Winter? NO. Hélas.”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Well, that’s a good news of sort, I guess, given that we apparently entered an era of rapid changes and re-alignments that may well see an armed conflagration – a “real” one, I mean, IE between “global” players, and with full spectrum opposing forces, not just rag-tag militias, nor even techno-guerilla à la Hizbollah.
    And since most of the world’s global armed forces are either built for military theatre (especially true for the USA, as much as I know you beg to differ), unable to “project” much power, or sheer hollow shelves of their former glories, broke, unable to bear any kind of protracted fight through simple attrition… then the temptation to go for the nuclear magic bullet would prove to be irresistible.
    The pre-WWI comparison is interesting in that regard, with high tech, well-trained all-volunteers forces of “imperial police officers”, Anglo-Saxons style, that proved impotent versus a peer adversary that gives as much as it takes. And there won’t be a conscripted French army to save the day, too, in that possible cripples fight.

    Btw, and with this entry you again prove that you can do some research, so feel free to correct me, as I write this from half-remembered bits, but wasn’t France’s nuclear deterrent a serious source of worrying for the Warsaw pact strategists?
    In that the goal was IIRC to try and blackmail/goad France into staying out of a possible pan-European war, given that the French nuclear recourse philosophy was (is?) that is a last recourse to safeguard the National territory (cue in the IMHO very apt strategic ground from which it sprang, with the UK-US WWII duplicity as a lesson learned), but a last recourse to be *used*, notably on a tactical level, preferably on foreign soil (cf. the IIRC “Hadès” missiles, fine-tuned to strike Soviet forces… In Germany).
    All this as opposed to the US umbrella (and its UK appendix) that was much more “negotiable” in nature; France would likely have used nukes, even as a “Sampson” option. Would have the USA risked actual harm to the CONUS?

    Nuclear weapons are made to be used, and they’ll be used, with a bit of luck.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Kevin: To answer your remarks about France and the Warsaw pact: yes. USSR generals had detailled plans of invasion of Western Europe, stopping at and before, the French border (to not get Moscow bombed). As you point out, that was silly: the French had said loud and clear they would used nukes on Soviet tank formations and rear areas, in case of attack on Germany. And indeed, well, the nukes would have exploded on German soil. (However, much of Germany is heavily forested, and tanks would have avoided cities, which are natural fortresses…)

      Right now, Russian generals loudly considering a nuke or two would sober their adversaries up, is a very worrying fact. Solution is, unfortunately, to go Trump’s way, and find an accomodation with Putin. I used to recommend confrontation, but that was all the way well before Obama dropped the ball in Putin’s lap on Syria…


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      All out war between major powers, at least if that major power is Russia, should not happen thinks Trump (and so do I). To make sure of that, he is sending tanks to the Baltics… Just anounced 30 minutes ago…
      All out war with N Korea is in the cards. China will have to stand aside. Russia better be in our pocket.
      If the PRC does not stand aside, it will be defeated.


  2. Kevin Says:

    Speaking of CONUS, and with the Trump administration (regime, if it can avoid being digested by the GOP, unlikely as it is, and morph into a less loathsome populist/fascist guise) likely being the one to oversee a “real” war, against Iran, China might be, I find the synchronicity of the Brexit and of POTUS Trump quite interesting.
    It’s as if some hidden, dormant gene in the Anglo civilizational DNA re-activated, and told the collective “let’s get outta here, and hide behind our moat, in our island” (generations upon generations of taking one’s ball and going home, where one can’t be touched when the goings get tough, would tend to do that).

    I’m aware there were many flukes and happen-stances for this synchronicity to happen, from organized votes suppression to an execrable tabloids regimen (cf. my pet idea that Brits hooligans being stomped into pavement by their superior Russian counterparts during the Euro played a role in that insular, under-siege, let’s flee the world, knee-jerk reaction), but having the rats flee like this signals quite a “mood” change, and bodes very badly for the future.
    Projection and accusatory inversion aside (“Cheese-eating… etc etc”), the Anglos reign supreme when it comes to cutting one’s loss and backing away. Worrying signal, indeed, especially for the EU & Europe, bound to be the butt of the joke.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Trump is basically saying:’Europe, how many divisions?’ He is sending tanks to the Baltics, a much more important news than a few travellers stuck… I have missed planes before because of authorities…


  3. Paul Handover Says:

    Interesting. But I’m bound to say that in the scale of things to worry about the likelihood, or not, of a nuclear winter is a long way from number one.


    • Kevin Says:

      Oh, yes, from my French-centric POV, I’m way more worried about the “termites” and their effect on the French Nation-State (that is, on French society, since France is a Nation-State and not much else).
      All the rest, this world re-alignment resembling a pre-war observation phase, the near-term economic (a renewed, predatory US-UK at war with the Rotw) & security (North Africa breaking down, starting with a post-Bouteflika Algeria) menaces, the global climate “challenge” (scare quotes in that it probably already is lost) and its consequences,…
      Everything is contingent upon the “termites”, and their sapping action still leaving enough solidity to that old, rotten structure, so it can weather through what will happen.
      A “LOW” nuclear war is like a natural disaster, a volcano, hell, even the proverbial meteor : there is just not much that can be done (it’s not as if the USA, that huge, immobile empire, ever will let it go willingly), bar sensible preparations to try and not maximize after-effects and the difficulties of recovering from it, if ever. The “termites”, OTOH, are hopefully within our power to deal with as a society, and in fact are a symptom of our dysfunction. And, again, and still from a French POV, any kind of “resilience” is contingent upon France 1) still being alive as a Nation as I type (not a given) and 2) Ultimately surviving the termites, to only have a chance to try and deal with all the rest.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        If I were president, I would go into a room with Putin, and tell him we have to finish, terminate, exterminate LOW, NOW!
        What do you mean by “termites”? The Islamophiles. Or Islamophiliacs, as I have just decided to call them (allusion to hemophiliacs, as they drain the blood of civilization…)


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      At this point, indeed. But it USED to be number one… As I said, that’s not necessarily reassuring…


  4. Gmax Says:

    Trump ordered US tanks in Poland to head off to the RussIan colonies of the Baltic sea, Lithuania and others. Real news hid by all the noise with 109 guys held back @ airports


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