August 03, 2015

A Few Things That Make One Just Throw Up Ones Hands And Go Watch Cartoons

For many, the major concern regarding the high octane nightmare fuel that is Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is loose nukes getting into the hands of one of the many Islamist organizations that operate in the country with and without official sanction. For instance:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Six leading figures of the Pakistani Taliban pledged allegiance to the terror group ISIS, one of them claimed in an audio message released Tuesday
(There is no word on their position regarding Lion hunting.)

 However, the possibility of Pakistan straight up using their atomic weapons in a war is nontrivial. A lethal 12 hour long gunfight in an Indian border town has thrown tinder on the hot-plate that is India and Pakistan's relationship. This despite the fact that no lions were harmed during the incident. 

 It is part of a general pattern of deterioration of India/ Pakistan relations..

Conditions are ripe for a crisis in this strained environment, even more so if a terrorist attack on Indian soil—such as Monday’s—is traced back to extremist groups supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). These rising tensions make crisis management more difficult and increase the risk of a conflict with nuclear dimensions.

Pakistan and India have been to war several times and Pakistan's statement that they consider battlefield nuclear weapons to be legitimate equalizers should certainly give one pause since once nukes start popping off all in a conflict where both sides have them, all sorts of nastiness is likely to ensue. 

Here is an estimate of the soot cloud that would be generated by 100 nuclear weapons of 15 kiloton yield going off over cities. 

The scale on the bottom measures reduction in watts per square meter.

These estimates tend to lean towards the pessimistic, however, this study assumes blast yields somewhere between approximately one half and one quarter those of the underground tests the countries have conducted and since both countries had stockpiles of around 100 weapons in 2011 (and have been building them up since) the number of blasts modeled is perhaps half what one would see in a real war. It concludes that growing seasons would be reduced between 10 days and a month in many parts of the world.
 Smoke emissions of 100 lowyield urban explosions in a regional nuclear conflict would generate substantial globalscale climate anomalies, although not as large as in previous "nuclear winter”scenarios for a full-scale war (11, 12). However, indirect effects on surface land temperatures, precipitation rates, and growing season lengths (see figure, page1225) would be likely to degrade agricultural productivity to an extent that historically has led to famines in Africa, India, and Japan after the 1783 1784 Laki eruption (13) or in the northeastern United States and Europe after the Tambora eruption of 1815 
This does not include estimates of ozone layer depletion which might persist for as much as 5 years. These models should be taken with a grain of salt of course, but it is apparent that if India and Pakistan go at it full on it would cause problems worldwide.

There has been little coverage of the deteriorating situation between the two nations in the U.S. media which is remarkable given that many of the hypothetically targeted cities in the studies contain zoos, which in turn might contain....lions. 


Fortunately, no negative impact upon any lions is considered imminent, hence the lack of interest by the media. 

Ukranian 'rebels' are reportedly building a dirty bomb, ie: a conventional explosive laced with radioactive substances to increase its lethality, or at least fear inducing effect. Like everything coming out of the confused region this should be treated with some skepticism, especially since the media has determined that it does not merit extensive coverage despite the fact that, if true it would be an obvious threat to the proud people eating lions of Kiev


Puerto Rico is defaulting on its debts. This is the U.S. Greece, fortunately no lions seem to have been harmed. 


China's stocks fell 29% in July. This is having some ripple effects, but may, in the short term, lower the number of Chinese businessmen able to pay for safaris to hunt lions. 

Poaching lions is a thing worthy of notice, but when the Jews start to flee a nation, it is warning sign of dreadful ugliness in the works .


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:07 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 770 words, total size 9 kb.

1 With respect to the scale on the map: Doesn't earth, in the daylight, get something on the order of 500-1000 W/m^2? (I know it's 1000 W/m^2 in orbit above the atmosphere) Would a 0.01 W/m^2 haze layer be noticeable without instruments?

(Obviously better not to have that happen than have it happen, but it seems to me that the main effects of nuclear weapons that need to be worried about are very much in the target area. i.e. The world won't be turning into a cinder: The targets will be turning into a cinder, and we can't really expect western handwringing over the end of the world to deter other countries (much less crazy ones like NK or Pakistan.).)

Posted by: EccentricOrbit at Mon Aug 3 07:14:44 2015 (GtPd7)

2 PS: Your CAPTCHA seems to be stuck on asking the same question over and over.

Posted by: EccentricOrbit at Mon Aug 3 07:15:41 2015 (GtPd7)

Doesn't earth, in the daylight, get something on the order of 500-1000 W/m^2? (I know it's 1000 W/m^2 in orbit above the atmosphere) Would a 0.01 W/m^2 haze layer be noticeable without instruments?

I honestly don't know. I doubt that 0.01 would register against Chinese factory emissions, but I think 0.1 (which also appears in places on the.gif) might be relevant. The study has the exchange take place in late winter early spring, which is bad for the northern hemisphere since even a tiny reduction in wattage to the surface would reduce snowmelt and warming, so, the timing is probably worst case. There is some affect in the southern hemisphere as well.  I suspect these nuclear winter scenarios are sexed up, a bit but the fact that the number of and yield of the bombs was so minimalist for a full war between the two countries. (I'd figure 150-200 detonations of 40-100 kilotons) that the low estimates might correct for any oversestimation in effects.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Aug 3 07:39:32 2015 (1zM3A)

PS: Your CAPTCHA seems to be stuck on asking the same question over and over. 

Pixy... One of my readers does not like apple pie.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Aug 3 07:41:13 2015 (1zM3A)


Even if the captcha isn't cycling, for the time being it's still enough to exclude all the spambots.

Jim Dunnigan's "Quick and Dirty Guide to War" is excellent and has been updated several times since it came out. It makes for chilling reading.

When it was originally written (1990?) it said the most likely place for a nuclear exchange was between India and Pakistan, following this scenario:

A new serious border war breaks out between the two nations, and India's military prevails. Indian military units enter Pakistan and head for the major cities. Pakistan then uses nukes in its own territory to stop the Indian invasion.

India then bombs Pakistan in retaliation and it eventually escalates to a city-swapping duel.

I can't really argue with that scenario; it makes too much sense to me. And until Iran completes its arsenal and makes good on its threat to nuke Israel, this scenario still seems like the highest probability of nuclear war on the planet.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Mon Aug 3 10:52:29 2015 (+rSRq)

6 Meanwhile hysterical Swedes found a Russian submarine in their waters. It sunk on May 10, 1916, after a collision with a ship "Ingermand-Land".

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Aug 5 12:06:46 2015 (RqRa5)

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