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As surely as the cherry blossoms will emerge after another cold, bleak Washington winter, so will the global warming muezzins resume calling us to prayer at their green altar. But now, thanks to National Geographic’s Charles Choi, we are reminded that if global warming actually occurred, any American president can not only end it but reverse it with the push of a button.
In a brilliant but little-noticed article, Mr. Choi reports that a small nuclear war — one that employed only 0.03 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal — would result in reversing earth’s long-term warming trend and result in global cooling by 2.25 degrees, according to NASA computer models. It’s a wonder that Al Gore didn’t think of this a decade ago.
The NASA modelers apparently found that explosions of 100 Hiroshima-sized warheads would produce the desired effect by blasting so much dirt and dust into the atmosphere as to reduce the effect of the sun’s rays.
The model is based upon historical fact. The eruption of volcanoes, such as the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, actually caused this effect but more briefly. And we don’t want to overdo it. The eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in 1815 caused widespread famine and unrest. In the NASA model, the one hundred warheads being set off would cool the tropics, Europe, Asia, and Alaska by about 5-7 degrees and parts of the polar regions would actually warm a little. The globe’s temperature would be cooled by about one degree Fahrenheit for a decade.