Growing up with images like this, I figured detonating nuclear bombs were rare and fearsome events—secret passwords, mission control, scary background music.

I didn’t know how many bombs the nuclear capable countries had set off, but certainly no more than say a dozen. Otherwise, we’d be living in a postapocalyptic world. Right?

Hollywood may be prone to exaggeration, but science backs them up in this argument. In 2009 Brian Toon, Chair of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, wrote a paper Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War. In it, he states that even a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would:

  • Wipe out the ozone layer for a decade 
  • Throw us into a mini ice age
  • Reduce global rainfall by 40%

I am no thermal nuclear expert, but I don’t see how Dr. Toon’s dire predictions can be accurate. Why? He based his computer simulations on the exchange of 100 atomic bombs. As this compelling video demonstrates, we humans have detonated 2053 nuclear weapons between 1945-1998.

Wikipedia backs the data in this video and cites many primary sources if you really need to geek out.

So much for the aforementioned scary music that’s supposed to accompany nuclear strikes. Our dullard leaders have been popping them in our own backyard like boys with firecrackers. They were probably huddled around a BBQ pit instead of mission control while destroying our deserts.

This of course assumes nuclear weapons really are as dangerous as Dr. Toon and this colleagues contend. Maybe be should call in a real nuclear expert for advice.