"Nuclear winter" from Gulf War discounted

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Author: Eliot Marshall
Date: Jan. 25, 1991
From: Science(Vol. 251, Issue 4992)
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 801 words

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AS WAR LOOMED IN THE MIDDLE EAST EARLY in January, atmospheric scientists in the United States and Britain went scurrying to their computers to check out a potential nightmare scenario: Could a major conflagration in Kuwait's oil fields trigger a climate catastrophe akin to the hypothesized "nuclear winter" that got so much attention in the 1980s? They had reason to worry because back in 1986 and 1987, computer modelers had indicated that if bombs ignited enough oil refineries, the pall of dense smoke could cause a significant change in the weather, perhaps shutting down the Asian monsoon cycle. On the very day war erupted, however, the scientists came up with a reassuring preliminary answer: A local chill might be triggered, but there is scant likelihood that global cooling would result.

Among the scientists who raised the specter that soot from a huge fire in the Gulf would block out sunlight and cause a big chill were Richard Turco, a builder of atmospheric models at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Brian Toon, an atmospheric researcher at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center. Both collaborated with Carl Sagan of Cornell University on the original nuclear winter...

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Source Citation
Marshall, Eliot. "'Nuclear winter' from Gulf War discounted." Science, vol. 251, no. 4992, 1991, p. 372. Accessed 27 July 2021.

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