“War is hell,” they say. And as you can see from these interactive maps, nuclear warfare is particularly miserable.
With the help of Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology, the Future of Life Institute (FLI) has created these three maps to illustrate the catastrophic effects of dropping an atomic bomb, with interactive tools providing numerous variables for you to play around with.
The data comes from the National Security Archives, who recently published a list of U.S. nuclear targets from 1956 that were previously classified. In total, it details the 1,100 nuclear targets the U.S. previously had across the former Soviet Union, China, and North Korea.
However, as FLI say on their website: “Even though today’s nuclear targets list is classified, it probably doesn’t look dramatically different. The U.S. still has about 1,900 nuclear warheads deployed on missiles and bombers (with thousands more on reserve), ready to be launched at a moment’s notice and able to hit their targets within 30 minutes.”
The maps also detail how different weather patterns could affect the collateral damage of the blast by sending nuclear fallout long distances in different directions.
Head over to the FLI website for the third interactive map and more analysis.