Global Famine after Nuclear War

Professor Alan Robock
Department of Environmental Sciences
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ, USA
FRI, 02/03/2023 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
Spring 2023 Colloquium Series

 The world as we know it could end any day as a result of an accidental nuclear war between the United States and Russia. The fires produced by attacks on cities and industrial areas would generate smoke that would blow around the world, persist for years, and block out sunlight, producing a nuclear winter. Because temperatures would plunge below freezing, crops would die and massive starvation could kill most of humanity. Even a nuclear war between new nuclear states, such as India and Pakistan, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and massive disruptions to the world’s food supply. In this talk Dr. Robock will show climate and crop model simulations, as well as analogs, that support this theory.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Alan Robock is a Distinguished Professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1970 with a B.A. in Meteorology, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an S.M. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1977, both in Meteorology. Before graduate school, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. He was a professor at the University of Maryland, 1977-1997, and the State Climatologist of Maryland, 1991-1997, before coming to Rutgers in 1998. Prof. Robock has published more than 490 articles on his research in the area of climate change, including more than 280 peer-reviewed papers. His areas of expertise include climate intervention (also called geoengineering), climatic effects of nuclear war, and effects of volcanic eruptions on climate. He serves as Associate Editor of Reviews of Geophysics, the most highly-cited journal in the Earth Sciences. His honors include being a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of the AMS Jule Charney Medal. Prof. Robock was a Lead Author of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007). In 2017 the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons” based partly on the work of Prof. Robock. In 2022, Prof. Robock was a winner of the Future of Life Award, “For reducing the risk of nuclear war by developing and popularizing the science of nuclear winter.”