A Model for the Impacts of Nuclear War

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Working Paper 18-2

38 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2018

See all articles by Seth Baum

Seth Baum

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

Anthony Barrett

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

Date Written: April 3, 2018

Abstract

The total impact of nuclear war is a major factor in many important policy questions, but it has gotten little scholarly attention. This paper presents a model for calculating the total impacts of nuclear war. The model includes physical, infrastructural, and social impacts as they affect human lives. The model has five main branches corresponding to the five main types of effects of nuclear weapon detonations: thermal radiation, blast, ionizing radiation, electromagnetic pulse, and human perceptions. Model branches contain extensive detail on each of these effects, including interconnections between them and connections to other major risks including global warming and pandemics. The paper also includes background information on impacts analysis and modeling to help readers understand how to think about the impacts of nuclear war, including discussion of important attributes of nuclear war such as the number and yield of weapons detonated and the location of their detonation.

Keywords: nuclear war, risk analysis, global catastrophic risk, impacts

Suggested Citation

Baum, Seth and Barrett, Anthony, A Model for the Impacts of Nuclear War (April 3, 2018). Global Catastrophic Risk Institute Working Paper 18-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3155983 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3155983

Seth Baum (Contact Author)

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute ( email )

Anthony Barrett

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute ( email )

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