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Old 03-14-2009, 03:50 PM
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Raellus Raellus is online now
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Default T2K and the Environment

I've been doing a little internet research on nuclear winter for a Morrow Project-type game I'm thinking of running and what I'm finding seems to fly in the face of the widespread drought conditions mentioned in Howling Wilderness for CONUS.

Although the nuclear winter theory has plenty of well-respected opponents, recent research and computer modelling supports the idea that even a limited nuclear exchanges in temperate or sub-tropical latitudes could significantly reduce global temperature averages. An exchange of around 50 warheads between India and Pakistan could lower the average global temperature by five degrees. That might not sound like much but it's actually a huge disparity in climatilogical terms.

I understand that the H-W writers wanted to create a post-apocalypse vibe with their drought but lower global temps would create an environmental crisis just as great. Agriculture would be hampered by shorter growing seasons and abnormally high rainfall can destroy crops almost as well as no rainfall can. In this sense, nuclear winter (or some degree thereof) would present just as many (if not more) challenges to reconstruction than a severe drought would.

I've also read that, in addition to global cooling, particulates tossed up by nuclear explosions could lead to an erosion of the earth's ozone layer. I'm still not clear on how this would affect nuclear winter conditions as I thought this would actually lead to greater heating/global warming.

I've chosen to include effects of a "nuclear autumn" in my T2K universe. In my Pirates of the Vistula PbP, Poland is experiencing freezing temperatures and snow in early October. In Chalkline's innactive PbP, it was always raining.

Climate change due to nuclear winter could also help explain Southern Arizona's relative fertility in Webstral's Thunder Empire campaign setting.

What are your thoughts on Nuclear Winter vs. Global Warming/drought.
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