In the wake of World War 2 tensions between the US and Russia (then known as part of the USSR) rose to near-catastrophic proportions, with the Cold War lasting up until a series of revolutions tore the Soviet Union apart in 1991. But, despite the geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the US and its allies, the countries were aware of the catastrophic impacts of a nuclear war, it has been revealed.
Writing in ‘What Does Rain Smell Like?’, forecasters Clare Nasir and Simon King explain how scientists discovered the damaging impacts of nuclear warfare on the atmosphere.
In the book, they claimed scientists understood how the “mass use of nuclear weapons” would “wipe out Earth as we know it”.
The meteorologists claimed: “Despite the tensions of the Cold War, American and Russian scientists in the early 1980s presented the results of their nuclear winter scenarios to the then USSR and US presidents Gorbachev and Reagan.
“They listened and took on board the research with Ronald Reagan, even saying the mass use of nuclear weapons would wipe out Earth as we know it”.
How US and Russia realised nuclear war would ‘wipe out Earth as we know it’
Cold War: Gorbachev meeting US President Ronald Reagan during tensions between the countries
As a result of the discovery by scientists, the book claims “there was a reduction in nuclear weapons on both sides”.
The sides also signed several treaties “to commit both countries to nuclear reduction.
The book adds: “The number of nuclear weapons across the world continues to fall, but unfortunately, at the same time there are more countries who own nuclear weapons.
“Recent studies using more advanced climate models than those used in the early 1980s still come up with the same results. The problem has not gone away”.
Images from Russia during the Cold War
The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in World War 2, and four years later the USSR set off their first nuclear bomb.
In 1962, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war for 13-days after the Soviet Union provided communist Cuba with missiles.
The Cold War came to an end at the start of the 1990s and thousands of missiles were destroyed by both countries.
But, tensions between the US and Russia are still high, and back in February, the US and Russia suspended their involvement in a treaty, which both nations signed back in 1987, towards the end of the Cold War.
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The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty banned both nations from using short and medium-range missiles (except sea-launched weapons).
There are under ten countries across the globe who hold nuclear weapons, with the US and Russia believed to hold significantly more than anyone else.
The UK, France, China are thought to have a similar number of nuclear weapons, while India and Pakistan are also believed to have nuclear capabilities.
In recent years, Iran has placed the world on alert amid threats of trying to develop nuclear weapons – which led to the Iran deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – but is on the brink of collapse.
North Korea missiles timeline – talks with US have broken down
Talks between the US and North Korea, who have threatened to develop nuclear weapons, have also broken down.
In ‘What Does Rain Smell Like?’, Simon King and Clare Nasir discuss a range of critical questions about the weather.
Ms Nasir and Mr King attempt to battle myths around the weather while also giving a detailed look into climate change on the planet, as well as climate modification.
The book also discusses how countries around the world are trying to influence the weather in the future, whether it be by “cloud seeding” – with experiments taking place to make a particular area dry for a period, by increasing rainfall elsewhere.
‘What Does Rain Smell Like?’ book cover
Unpicked are weather phenomena, including cloud formation, the theory behind rainbows, and why certain parts of the world experience extreme weather depending on the time of the year.
The so-called Beast from the East, which brought heavy snowfall to the UK at the beginning of 2018 is explored as the meteorologists explain exactly why Britain was pummelled by the bitterly-cold conditions, with a detailed look at whether the weather events are more likely to occur in the future.
What Does Rain Smell Like by Simon King and Clare Nasir out now RRP £12.99 (Bonnier Books UK)