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Nuclear weapons' surprising contribution to climate science
Date:7/13/2012

bout the atmosphere. In particular, this research has contributed enormously to knowledge about both carbon dioxide, which raises Earth's temperature, and aerosols, which lower it. Without climate models, scientists and political leaders would not have understood the full extent of nuclear weapons' power to annihilate not only human beings, but other species as well.

Facilities built during the Cold War, including US national laboratories constructed to create weapons, now use their powerful supercomputers, expertise in modeling, and skills in managing large data sets to address the threat of catastrophic climate change. This has benefitted the labs themselves -- without a new direction, the argument to continue funding these laboratories would have been less compelling -- and the science and scientists who are studying climate change.

"Today, the laboratories built to create the most fearsome arsenal in history are doing what they can to prevent another catastrophe this one caused not by behemoth governments at war, but by billions of ordinary people living ordinary lives within an energy economy that we must now reinvent," Edwards says.


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Contact: Katie Baker
katie.baker@sagepub.co.uk
44-020-732-48719
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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