North Korea's Threat: The Effect Of An Atmospheric Hydrogen Bomb Test Could Be Catastrophic?

The North Korean regime has threatened to carry out "atmospheric testing" of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. As reported earlier today by the Inquisitr, the latest threat from Kim Jong-un's reclusive regime comes as the U.S. deployed another aircraft carrier battle group to the region. As reported by the Daily Express, North Korean state media branded Trump a "war maniac" and a "lunatic" and claimed that his visit to South Korea next month could "bring a war to the Korean peninsula."

Last week, North Korea claimed that it is now a "fully fledged" nuclear power. Kim Jong-un's reclusive regime is desperate for President Trump to believe that North Korea is capable of launching a nuclear missile attack against U.S. cities. To understand why North Korea needs the U.S. to believe it is a nuclear power, one has to look back to the experiences of the Vietnam war.

After almost two decades of conflict in Vietnam U.S. troops, despite overwhelming firepower, were forced to withdraw with their tails between their legs. That experience is now engraved on the American psyche. Since Vietnam, history has shown us that the U.S. is reluctant to send ground troops into battle until bombers and cruise missiles have rendered the enemy ineffective.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of this tactic. Missiles and aircraft were used to hit strategic targets, disrupt communications, and degrade military capability. Ground forces moved in afterward in a "peacekeeping role." You can be sure that North Korea is alive to this tactic, and this is why Kim Jong-un wants Donald Trump to believe that he can fight this kind of war.

North Korea Nuclear Test
[Image by KRT/AP Images]

North Korea has tested intercontinental missiles, by firing them over Japan. Last months underground nuclear test was designed to show that North Korea has the capability to detonate a hydrogen bomb. Many experts believe that Kim Jong-un is close to being able to deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland, and of course, Guam and Japan are on the front line.

If North Korea can carry out an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test, they would show Donald Trump, and the rest of the world, that they are indeed a nuclear power. The problem is that the international community would be unlikely to tolerate an atmospheric nuclear test because the effects are potentially catastrophic.

As reported by the Telegraph, Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, released a chilling graphic that shows how a radioactive cloud could potentially spread across the planet. Admittedly this is a "rough" simulation, so what do the scientists say?

Scientific American, points out that no nation has conducted an atmospheric nuclear test since China did so in 1980. As reported by Trinity Atomic, the U.S. last carried out an atmospheric test in 1963, largely as a result of the unintended effect of a test carried out in 1954.

In 1954, the "Castle Bravo" nuclear test went horribly wrong because scientists had underestimated the effect of the explosion. The Castle Bravo detonation unleashed a 15-megaton blast that was two-and-a-half times greater than expected. The result largest nuclear contamination accident in U.S. history.

Popular Science reports that "if a weapon goes off in the atmosphere, you'll detect that radioactivity from huge distances," and that the fallout will be hazardous to human health.

North Korea Nuclear Test
[Image by Junko Kimura/Getty Images]

As reported by Arms Control Wonk, Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Scientist-in-Residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, has warned that an atmospheric nuclear test would be disastrous.

"An atmospheric nuclear test would be a blow to human welfare around the planet, as well as a departure from a norm that has been observed by all nuclear-weapon possessors for 37 years."
Of course, the damage done by testing of a thermonuclear weapon in the atmosphere will depend on the strength of that weapon, but the effects of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 are still being felt today. Nuclear contamination was detected in milk and meat as far away as the United Kingdom. That disaster was the result of a nuclear power plant exploding, the potential effects of a huge thermonuclear explosion in the atmosphere are likely to prove much more damaging.

There are very real fears that an atmospheric nuclear test by North Korea could cause catastrophe around the world, and of course, such a test would raise the threat of a nuclear World War 3 to unprecedented levels.

[Featured Image by Omer Messinger/Getty Images]