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Nuclear Winter

In a recent letter (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 12), Thomas F. Malone criticizes the article “‘Nuclear Winter’ Comes In From The Cold” (The Scientist, ‘May 1, 1989, page 1) for failing to point out that the scientific issue of “nuclear winter” has already been resolved. To substantiate his claim, Malone cites “Global Effects of Nuclear War” by R.P. Turco and (3 Golitsyn in Enviromnent (30:9, 1988), which reviews earlier studies, incl

Robert Erlich

In a recent letter (The Scientist, June 26, 1989, page 12), Thomas F. Malone criticizes the article “‘Nuclear Winter’ Comes In From The Cold” (The Scientist, ‘May 1, 1989, page 1) for failing to point out that the scientific issue of “nuclear winter” has already been resolved. To substantiate his claim, Malone cites “Global Effects of Nuclear War” by R.P. Turco and (3 Golitsyn in Enviromnent (30:9, 1988), which reviews earlier studies, including the’ SCOPE report published in “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War” (New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1985)

However, a careful reading of the 1988 Environment article indicates that the scientific issue is far from settled. First, as Turco and Golilsyn note, the extent of the hypothesized temperature decline depends greatly on the amount of smoke, which remains highly uncertain. When a “low,” “medium,” or “high” estimate of the amount of smoke is used, the computed...

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