More than five billion people will die from a nuclear war between the US and Russia as decaying civilizations will be thrown into a war for food, a study reveals.
Scientists believe that the fallout from a major apocalypse will have catastrophic effects on food production – wiping out entire populations from starvation.
Boffins at Rutgers University has completed a detailed analysis of the effects of a nuclear winter – and the results are astounding.
They believe that the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war will cause more than five billion people to starve to death globally in the years to come, in addition to the large number of people killed in war.
Countries including the UK, US, Germany, France and China will see severe devastation, with almost everyone dying by the second year, according to the study.
On the other hand, countries like Argentina and Australia will thrive with zero mortality despite the assumption that all livestock will die and there will be no trade with other countries.
Professor Alan Robuck, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: “Everybody understands that the direct effects of nuclear war will be devastating, as we saw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“Our work shows that ten times more people could die in the rest of the world because of the impact of climate and agriculture.”
In the study, published in the journal Nature Food, scientists looked at six scenarios involving nuclear wars of different scales – including between India and Pakistan, the US and Russia.
They calculated how much sun-blocking soot would enter the atmosphere from firestorms created by nuclear detonation.
Even the slightest conflict could leave more than a billion people deprived of food because of crop failure – reducing the actual battle death toll to between 50-100 million.
But a large-scale nuclear war could see such a massive drop in crop yields that 75% of the world’s population would starve to death within just two years.
The scientists came up with the estimates by ignoring the original death toll from nuclear weapons and instead modeling the agricultural decline due to reduced sunlight because of soot and temperature.
In most countries, they believe to reduce calories by at least 90%.
But some places like Australia, Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and Haiti will maintain calorie production because they have grown more resistant crops like wheat on a mass scale and have smaller populations.
Prof Robuck said: “There will still be enough domestic production for them, but you can imagine there will be caravans of hungry refugees from Asia on their way there.
“So it doesn’t have to be peaches and ice cream just for Australia.”
It comes after the head of the United Nations warned the world was staring at the “loading gun” of the nuclear Armageddon.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes that the crises in Ukraine and Taiwan are bringing the world closer to the nuclear abyss.