Impossible to confine nuclear exchange to Korean peninsula

As a retired meteorologist, I would like to point out that even if the United States and North Korea were to try to confine a nuclear exchange to the Korean peninsula, they would not succeed, due to prevailing westerly winds (The lives at stake if war breaks out in Korea; April 15).

These prevailing westerly winds suggest that the nuclear fallout unleashed into the atmosphere could be carried to Japan and possibly even to the US, depending on the scale of the nuclear war.

Rain would also wash this fallout into the soil, rivers, reservoirs and seas.

Radiation-free food and potable water would likely be hard to find in the affected areas for a very long time.

In the Fukushima disaster, radioactive sea water was carried by the oceanic circulation to the western shores of the US.

No one can control the wind and rain.

Chang Wen Lam (Dr)
Hong Kong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Impossible to confine nuclear exchange to Korean peninsula'. Print Edition | Subscribe