HC Deb 20 March 1963 vol 674 cc66-7W
70. Mr. Darling

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will consult the United States, Russian and other appropriate Governments on the need for a joint research project to ascertain the effects of nuclear test explosions on air currents in the upper atmosphere, and to inquire into the extent to which the protracted spell of arctic weather over the Northern Hemisphere is due to the diversion of air currents over the Pacific Ocean from their normal course.

Mr. H. Fraser

No. I am advised that an investigation of this kind would not be merited because so far nuclear explosions have had no discernible long term effects on the major atmospheric circulations. In any case, a conclusive result could not be guaranteed because it would be very difficult to decide whether deviations from the climatic average were simply natural occurrences or had been induced artificially. There were comparable cold spells in 17th and 18th centuries before the discovery of nuclear fission.

To put the matter in perspective, it should be borne in mind that local releases of energy greater than that of manmade explosions are always taking place in the atmosphere. For example, in the tropics, there are between 1,000 and 2,000 thunderstorms in progress at any time each of them releasing the same energy as a megaton bomb.

The Meteorological Office is engaged in a continuous study of the upper winds and their effects on weather and are in touch with the work of scientists in the same field in other countries.

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