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                      The article Nuclear Winter is written by Carl Sagan, a famed professor of Astronomy and Space sciences at Cornell University. He introduced the concept of nuclear winter in a 1983 scientific journal article. This article is based on the writer’s extensive research about the unanticipated and destructive physical and chemical effects of a nuclear war on earth’s biosphere and life on earth. The purpose of the article is to let the people know about the dreadful effects of a nuclear war. The writer says that humankind developed ingenious weapons in the first place, always concentrating on the near future and ignored the long term consequences of their actions. In this article he says that in the effect of a nuclear war the entire planet would be plunged into a very intense cold and complete darkness caused by the blockage of sunlight that would last for months or even years. The writer has put forward his points in a very horrific tone to tell the scenario of the aftermath of a nuclear war.

      The writer says that during the nuclear war number of nuclear warheads would be exploded which would create massive fires, resulting from the burning of buildings and timber which would produce vast amount of smoke, tar and soot. The smoke and soot would rise up in the atmosphere due to their high temperature and would block the incoming sunlight, resulting in coolness and darkness on the surface of earth. The temperature would decrease to as low as -25 degree Celsius. This smoke and soot would settle in Northern Hemisphere and wouldn't be washed out so easily and would remain there for months or even years. The cold and darkness, combined with the toxic radiations from the explosions would result in a great human massacre. About one billion people would be killed and one billion would be injured. The climate would become so bitterly cold that vital crops and farm animals would die. It would lead to the scarcity of food which would result in starvation of millions of people that survived the war. The world population would be reduced to the pre historic levels or below. Moreover, nitrogen oxide, produced from the radiations of explosions, would damage the ozone layer to a great extent which would allow the harmful radiations of sunlight to reach the earth. The toxic and poisonous gases from explosions would result in widespread diseases. Even the effect of same magnitude would occur if a small scale nuclear war happens. The survivors of the war would face epidemics, radiation sickness, contamination of food and water supplies, inadequate medical assistance, psychological disorders, food shortages and breakdown of social and economic system. There would be a complete chaos and the world civilization would be pushed back to barbarism. The research of the writer on the aftermath of a nuclear war has done some credible jobs. The writer believes that nuclear winter would help in nuclear arm disarmament. The article actually helped to some extent in ending the cold war between United States of America and USSR back in the 1980’s. The dire consequences written in this article was scrutinized by many scientists around the world including the scientists of USA and USSR. In a speech, the then president of America Ronald Reagan detailed that nuclear winter as a reason why America and USSR should reduce their stockpiles. He said “A great many reputable scientists are telling us that such a [nuclear] war could just end up in no victory for anyone because we could wipe out the Earth as we know it.”1 The former defense minister of Russia also verified that the research on the aftermath of nuclear war changed their strategies back in the cold war. He said “In the first half of the 1980s, the findings of U.S. and Soviet physicians on the aftermath of nuclear war and the 'nuclear winter' theory noticeably influenced the Soviet leadership”.2

                  The article has also attracted a great deal of criticism from the politicians and even general public. The consequences of a nuclear war are greatly overstated in this article. Some scientists like Robert Jervis and Allen Lynch have opposed the theory of Carl Sagan.3 The destruction after a nuclear war would be less severe because most of the developed nations have anti nuclear missiles which would destroy the incoming missile before it hits the ground. A great deal of uncertainties is unanswered in the article such as the likely length of a nuclear war. National Academy of Science in USA in one of its report stated that “The uncertainties that pervade the quantitative assessment of the atmospheric effects of a major nuclear exchange are so numerous and so large that no definite description of those effects is possible at this time”.4

                By publishing the article the writer is trying to gain publicity. The results of his research might be true but he should have kept these results to himself or just forwarded them to the concerned authorities. The job of a scientist is to carry out the researches and try to work on them. They shouldn’t show the horrible scientific researches to the general public. These news create panic among the people and has greater psychological impact on the minds of people.

                               The problem with this article is that all the findings and theories of the effects of a nuclear war are only confined to the computers. The scenarios created by the scientists to come up with the conclusion of nuclear winter are theoretical, falsifiable and has limited information.5 There has been almost seventy years since the invention of nuclear missiles but the world has not experienced any major nuclear war. On the contrary, if we take the example of dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by USA in World war 2, even that didn’t create any nuclear winter. Thousands of people died, diseases were spread and children there are still born with defects but there wasn’t a single sign of nuclear winter.6

                   The writer has dared to pen down his research on the aftermath of nuclear war but it is a little exaggeration. Yes there would be facts and realities in his writing but to make it more interesting he has exaggerated his words. There is a Roman quote that “where there is less fear, there is generally less danger”.7 Nations and policymakers should stress more on nuclear disarmament policies but predicting the horrible consequences like this wouldn’t help anything but to spread uneasiness and anxiety in the people.

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