Seaweed farms could feed 1.2 billion people during nuclear winter, scientists predict
As IFL Science explains, a large-scale nuclear war might mark the beginning of a series of problems for humanity. Following the war, enormous amounts of soot would be released into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface. This is likely to lead to a cooling of the climate. Also, the radiation emitted after a nuclear explosion could contaminate the earth, making it infertile. In such a scenario, humanity would confront a so-called atomic winter.
Seaweed could offer a solution to nuclear winter
According to Live Science, "in the worst-case scenario, a nuclear war between the United States and Russia (who collectively own almost 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons) could cause the release of 364 million US tons of soot into the Earth's atmosphere." This would likely bring about a surface temperature drop of about 16 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to a staggering 90 percent decrease in global calorie production. However, scientists have discovered a potential survival method during famine and crop failure - seaweed farming.
In the "Earth's Future" journal, experts explain that seaweed is relatively resilient and adaptable to various environmental conditions. Their research finds that seaweed could be cultivated in tropical oceans even after a nuclear war. Within 9–14 months following a nuclear explosion, seaweed production could increase, meeting 45 percent of global food demand (including human food, animal feed, and biofuels), potentially feeding about 1.2 billion people.
At full capacity, seaweed farms could substitute 15 percent of the food currently consumed by people, while also supplying 50 percent of current biofuel production and 10 percent of animal feed. IFL Science notes that seaweed is highly nutritious, containing essential carbohydrates, proteins, fats and nutrients like magnesium, zinc, vitamin B12, iodine and polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, it's vital to note that a diet based solely on seaweed should only be a temporary solution.