Nuclear war can create nuclear winter, which is opposite to global warming. Can we detonate thermonuclear (because they don't create radiation) bombs somewhere to decrease global temperature?

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    $\begingroup$ not so easy, Radiation poisoning, Famine at some area, lots of side effect for gaining one nuclear winter $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, welcome to Physics SE. Your question body asks about global warming, which can be countered by reducing insolation. But your title asks about climate change, which has already included global dimming your proposal would increase. So is your question purely about warming, or climate change generally? Because while dimming has reduced warming, more dimming would exacerbate other problems dimming caused. $\endgroup$
    – J.G.
    Commented May 18 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thermonuclear bombs are still dirty, further, thermonuclear reaction generate huge neutron flux sufficient to turn things around them radioactive. The military used them in the 50s to do naval tests and created radioactive ships. Most of the isotopes created by direct neutron bombardment are short lived but not all. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ "Nuclear war can create nuclear winter" - yes a major nuclear war can create a nuclear winter, but the reason for this are not the explosions in and of themselves, but the smoke and soot rising from a couple hundred burning cities engulfed in nightmarish firestorms. So, that seems like a bit of a problem. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is more of a climate engineering than physics question. The relevant issue is that the soot infusion that causes the cooling only stays aloft in the stratosphere for a few years, then you are back to the warming due to the high CO2 (which has a long half-life even without new production). So it is not a permanent solution, and hardly a repeatable one. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


An H-bomb would contribute to a nuclear winter by throwing huge amounts of dirt and dust into the atmosphere. This means that to blow dust into the upper atmosphere, they necessarily wreak absolute havoc on the ground (that dust had to come from somewhere).

H-bombs create copious amounts of radiation when they blow up. Remember that the trigger for a hydrogen bomb is a plutonium fission bomb which is a strong source of radioactivity in itself. Also note that the highest-yield hydrogen bombs are those that have fissionable casings that themselves blow up upon being irradiated by the huge number of fast neutrons released when the hydrogen fuses. Plenty of "dirt" there.

This would make the effects of a climate-altering thermonuclear weapon indistinguishable from a weapon of war.


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