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Nuclear Conflict During Summer Season by 2030

Flourishing Futures Nuclear Risk Horizons Project


The timing of nuclear conflict is important for estimating the likelihood and magnitude of nuclear winter effects. Nuclear winter is a proposed scenario where a lot of smoke and dust particles rise into the stratosphere, where they can block sunlight. This can be caused by massive fires and firestorms that follow the nuclear explosions, or even by large enough nuclear explosions themselves. This lofting of smoke may be facilitated by the more intense sunlight of summer, meaning nuclear conflicts that occur in other seasons may cause less cooling.

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If nuclear conflict occurs by 2030, will it start in the period June-September?

This question will resolve as Yes if the first nuclear strike in the first nuclear conflict between January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2030 happens between June 1 and September 30 inclusive (of any year).

This question will resolve as ambiguous if there is no nuclear conflict in this period.

“Nuclear conflict” will be defined as a situation in which there is state use of at least one nuclear weapon against another actor’s territory and/or forces. This state use could be deliberate, inadvertent, accidental, or unauthorised but by an actor in the state’s chain of command (see fine print for definitions). This excludes non-state use of nuclear weapons.

In a deliberate detonation, the attacking nation decides to launch one or more nuclear weapons either in response to a genuine nuclear attack or without believing that it is under nuclear attack. “In an inadvertent detonation, the attacking nation mistakenly concludes that it is under nuclear attack and launches one or more nuclear weapons in what it believes is a counterattack” (Barrett et al., 2013). “In an accidental or unauthorized launch or detonation, system safeguards or procedures to maintain control over nuclear weapons fail in such a way that a nuclear weapon or missile launches or explodes without direction from leaders” (Barrett et al., 2013).

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