When considering the best place to spend an apocalyptic nuclear winter, hedge your bets on the southern hemisphere.
That was the main takeaway from a study published this week that found that a handful of island nations, mostly south of the equator, have the highest potential for continued food production after a severe reduction disaster. of the sun.
The study, conducted by the University of Otago and Adapt Research in New Zealand, explored how multiple sunlight reduction scenarios like nuclear war, volcanic super eruptions, or asteroid impacts would affect global agriculture.
By analyzing patterns of crops under “nuclear winter” conditions, estimates of dietary caloric intake and a range of resilience factors, they assessed 38 island nations. New Zealand, Australia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands came out on top, along with Iceland on the other side of the world.
The scientists focused on New Zealand as a case study. They found that while the island nation would likely be able to feed people, its vulnerabilities lay in extreme reliance on imported goods, such as refined fuel, and a shortfall in the manufacture of essential components.
Professor Nick Wilson, from the University of Otago, said the findings remained consistent with a study conducted 40 years ago of the impact of nuclear war on New Zealand. The only difference was that the country had become more dependent on imported diesel and digital infrastructure.
Dr Matt Boyd, of Adapt Research, said the study highlighted the precarious situation of many countries in a post-apocalyptic world.
“New Zealand has the potential to preserve an industrial society through this kind of disaster, but it’s not ‘plug-and-play’,” he said in a statement. “A decent amount of strategic planning needs to take place and over a long period of time, but such planning would have benefits in dealing with a wide range of tail risks.”