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Old 03-14-2009, 03:50 PM
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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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Old 03-14-2009, 11:32 PM
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I have found the same elements than you and also went for a nuclear winter. I had a very severe one after the exchange with temperatures dropping by 20°C in several places.

Then, I maintained this situation overtime with more severe winter and shorter summer. An other thing is that extreme weather conditions are reinforced in several locations (you don't get rain in deserts). As a result, in US some places are colder but the deserts are experiencing more severe drought than usual. I'm not really sure that my choices are entirely realistic but they are fun in game terms and I love to have my players walking in snow from early November to late April.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:33 AM
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I've opted for extreme weather as well, but made the weather a lot more random - sudden storms blowing up out of nowhere, two or three days of extreme heat followed by a blizzard, that sort of thing. Probably not overly realistic, but it keeps them on their toes.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:50 AM
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I go for the cooler temperatures myself. Reduced growing season, harsher winters, changes in rainfall patterns, etc. Nothing too grand like on the H-W scale, but enough to impact things just enough.
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
I've opted for extreme weather as well, but made the weather a lot more random - sudden storms blowing up out of nowhere, two or three days of extreme heat followed by a blizzard, that sort of thing. Probably not overly realistic, but it keeps them on their toes.
I'm no meteorologist but I think there's something to that. Clouds of particulates would, methinks, congregate over time in massive clouds and get carried along by air currents in the upper atmosphere. Once they're up there, it takes ages to come down since rainclouds don't form that high. Anyway, one day, your patch of earth is shielded from the sun, dropping temps in the area dramatically, and the next week, the same patch is exposed (with reduced ozone allowing greater heating) as the ash-cloud moves on and the temps shoot up. The alternating rapid heating and cooling of the earth's (land OR ocean) surface in any given region would play havoc with the air and water currents creating all kinds of mini (or macro) El Nino or La Nina type weather patterns all over the planet, making heretofore stable (or predictable) climates totally wonky.

I'm rereading The Road and the author uses the nuclear winter theory to chilling (pun intended) effect.
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:54 PM
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Default Nuclear Winter

These might be useful....

What is Nuclear winter?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter

...and how to survive it.
http://www.secretsofsurvival.com/sur...ar_winter.html
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:24 PM
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The amount of particulates thrown up depends a good deal on the type of nuclear detonations. Ground bursts generate a lot more airborne material than airbursts. We should be wary of overestimating the effects of burning cities on the climate. During the latter stages of WW2, a lot of German and Japanese cities were throwing up a great deal of particulate matter. The Earth did not experience a dramatic cooling. We are currently generating staggering amounts of particulates by burning forests and coal. The latter will stop, by and large, with the initiation of nuclear warfare. I’ve read a lot of opinions on what varying levels of nuclear exchange will do to the climate. About the only thing we seem to know for certain is that we aren’t capable of a Krakatoa-type effect.

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Old 03-16-2009, 01:11 AM
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For which we should all be grateful. A nasty volcanic event can have change: one Volcano went boom in 1816 and there was so much ash and dust in the atmosphere that there was quite a bit of coolling; snow during July in New England if I'm not mistaken, to give one example.

Weren't some of the nuclear winter forecasts assuming that every detonation would be a ground burst?
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Wiser
A nasty volcanic event can have change: one Volcano went boom in 1816 and there was so much ash and dust in the atmosphere that there was quite a bit of coolling; snow during July in New England if I'm not mistaken, to give one example.
Wasn't that Krakatoa as mentioned by Webstral?
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Wiser
For which we should all be grateful. A nasty volcanic event can have change: one Volcano went boom in 1816 and there was so much ash and dust in the atmosphere that there was quite a bit of coolling; snow during July in New England if I'm not mistaken, to give one example.

Weren't some of the nuclear winter forecasts assuming that every detonation would be a ground burst?
I've heard about that "Year Without a Summer." I think there wwas a similar one in 1709 where people said it was so cold, the wattles and combs on their chickens and roosters froze and fell off, but the chickens survived. I've also heard that sometimes trees "explode" from the frozen sap. I talked to one person who back in the 1970's had the same thing happen to their chickens (and exploding trees) during the bitter winter of 1976/77. I remember we missed like 16 days of school that year because they had problems piping up natural gas from New Orleans to the North.

Chuck M.
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:54 PM
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From what I've read about the later years of WWII, the winter of '44/'45 was a particularly long, cold, and snowy one in NW Europe. I've never seen this mentioned before so there's probably nothing to it, but maybe the winter that year was more severe due to the large quantities of particulates thrown up by the intense strategic bombing of Germany and the surrounding, Nazi controlled territories in the preceding months/years.

It's possible, I suppose...
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
I've opted for extreme weather as well, but made the weather a lot more random - sudden storms blowing up out of nowhere, two or three days of extreme heat followed by a blizzard, that sort of thing. Probably not overly realistic, but it keeps them on their toes.
From a survival standpoint, you want Hawaiian weather -- temperate, kind of an even mix of cloud and sunny, and a light, short rain almost every evening around sundown. Of course, that doesn't hold in October and November, when the monsoons come...

I prefer cold to heat. Just don't overdo it. I love San Antonio except for the weather in the summer. And fall. And spring... And I'll tell you what -- the weather's getting weird around here the last few years -- I believe in Global Climate Change. One of the local meteorologists said that they were getting to the point that they could reliably predict weather up to 7 days in advance. That was a few years ago. Now, she says they can only reliably predict weather for two days, and three is stretching it.

San Antonio and this part of the country is in the worst drought in 50 years. The temperature seesaws from day to day -- it goes up and down more than a two-dollar hooker. I'm not even sure how much of my backyard is dormant and what is dead. What's the point of spreading seeds -- we're in stage one water restrictions, and have been for almost a year.

Rant over.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:30 PM
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Australia has always been prone to extended droughts but in some parts of the continent changes in rainfall patterns are causing major problems for population centres. It has reached the point in my city that the winter rains have become so unreliable that the government has been forced to build desalination plants to boost the potable water supply.

The tropical parts of Australia will always get their monsoonal rains but now it looks like there will be bigger and more frequent cyclones (the southern hemisphere version of a hurricane) to contend with. I've been through several cyclones, they are absolutely terrifying when you are cowering in a tent on a beach I can tell you. Went through that situation when I was eight years old. I'll never forget it.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:58 PM
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Went through a hurricane in Hawaii when I was 17. It made such a mess they actually called us up to clear roads and suchlike -- and by us, I mean the Civil Air Patrol. Well, there are worse things for a teenager to do after a natural disaster...
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:22 AM
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Ah whackey weather is something we should toss into the mix in our playing T2K. But more random. A hot spell where temps are extreme for a bit. Going from a monsoonal type rain say in POLAND, then dropping back to the normal weather pattern.

Toss some snow into the Tropics to really turn things around. Imagine what would happen if it started snowing in Honolulu or Panama City?

Turn the Western Desert into Oz and the Mojave centers of major rain fall.

Messed up weather patterns like that would be a good reason for a major wordwide famine, the food production regions become flooded or deserts in a year or two think of the infrastructure that would have to shift in very short order to compensate for such a change? <And that is a reason why even the earilest of argicultural societies had astronomy to deal with the seasons which determined the weather conditions>
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b
San Antonio and this part of the country is in the worst drought in 50 years. The temperature seesaws from day to day -- it goes up and down more than a two-dollar hooker. I'm not even sure how much of my backyard is dormant and what is dead. What's the point of spreading seeds -- we're in stage one water restrictions, and have been for almost a year.
Sounds like you'd love it here in southern Arizona, Paul!

Here's an idea for our new president. It's got a definite New Deal flavor. It would be expensive in the near term but it would create lots and lots of jobs for the next decade or so and, over the long run, it would save billions in federal disaster relief spending.

Build a system of resevoirs and pipelines to siphon floodwaters from states getting battered with above average rains and overspilling rivers to the states that are suffering from droughts. In other words, take surplus fresh water from one area and pump it to areas with water shortages.

It just blows me away how some regions (like the Dakotas, ATM) are being drowned while other regions (like many parts of the south) are suffering through their umpteenth year of drought conditions. Maybe it's so simple, no one has thought of it.

And, Paul, you'll have to explain that hooker analogy 'cause I just don't get it.
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