Presenting NUKEMAP

by Alex Wellerstein, published February 3rd, 2012

Update: NUKEMAP has had well over a million "detonations" since it was first made public. I'm both agog and aghast. Click here for a FAQ of sorts.

This Friday, instead of giving you an image like I normally do, I'm giving you a little application to make your own images.

There are lots of nuclear effects calculators out there on the web.1 But I was never fully satisfied with how these looked, or with their interfaces. (Of course, purists don't require apps.)

So over the last few days, I put together my own nuclear effects calculator, which I am calling NUKEMAP, only because "Alex's Nuclear Effects Calculator" was deemed by a colleague as "unsexy."

What makes this one so great? Check out these features:

  • Easily draggable target marker (which has an adorable little atom on it)!
  • Bright, stomach-churning colors indicating major negative effects of atomic detonations!
  • Effects described include zones of 500 rem exposure, major overpressures, and fire! Plus, the legend breaks these down into easy-to-understand descriptions of what they mean for your average person caught inside of them.
  • Lots of pre-sets for both places to drop them (I didn't want to discriminate) and yields of historical weapons! It has never been easier to put a 50Mt H-bomb on the Eiffel Tower.
  • Automatically tries to drop the bomb on wherever Google thinks you are accessing the Internet from (based on your IP address)!
  • You can link to specific detonations and send them to your friends to enjoy forever!
  • Automatic zooming to make sure that all of a given nuke's effects fit within the view window! (This can be disabled.)
  • More historically contextualized than your average web app!

I have in the past made maps of this sort for use in teaching, when I want to emphasize how "impressive" the first hydrogen bomb was when compared to the first atomic bombs. If you dropped a Fat Man-style bomb onto downtown Boston, the results wouldn't be pretty, but the effects would be limited to the immediate area surrounding the peninsula, primarily. (In other words, I would tell the students, Harvard is probably not too bad off, fallout excepting, but MIT is completely fried.) Do the same thing with an Ivy Mike-sized bomb and you've set houses on fire all the way out to Concord (a visual argument, when done with appropriate build-up and theatricality, that never failed to result in a horrified gasp from the auditorium of undergrads). It becomes quite clear why many of the atomic scientists of the day considered H-bombs to be exclusively genocidal weapons.

Of course, all such mappers fail to take into account terrain and building differences. Someday, I have no doubt, the Google Maps API will evolve to a level where that will be possible, but not today. It would also be wonderful to have it automatically guess as to the level of megadeaths (which wouldn't be to hard if you could automatically find population sizes within a given circle radius) but this also is not something easily done with Google Maps (though again, someday I bet it will be possible). It also doesn't do anything to gauge fallout — this is in part because calculating fallout paths is hard if you are not just being hand-wavy about it, and that even being hand-wavy about it is hard to depict in Google Maps because it doesn't natively support drawing ellipses as opposed to circles. But there are work-arounds to this, and maybe someday this mapper will support basic fallout trajectories.

Technical credit and caveat: the scaling equations are all adapted from the wonderful Nuclear Weapons FAQ by Carey Sublette. They are approximate scaling equations and they assume optimum burst height. So they are not going to be perfect for estimating ground bursts, and they are probably a little hand-wavy when you talk about bombs at the margins (very tiny or very huge yields).

NUKEMAP should be more or less compatible with any browsers that support the latest Google Maps API (v.3).

Wish this did something that it doesn't? Let me know. I'm all ears for good suggestions and I find this stuff more fun than is probably healthy.

And maybe you do, too. As one of my AIP colleagues wrote to me: "It’s weird to say that it’s fun…  but I just blew up Chicago!"

  1. The two most prominent via Google are one written in Java at FAS and one called the HYDESim which only shows overpressures. There is also this one that does thermal damage only. And this one from Graham Allison that I wasn't aware of until after writing NUKEMAP. And this one which also does thermal effects. []

74 Responses to “Presenting NUKEMAP”

  1. Very nice (though for some reason it plots my IP address as being about 30 miles SW of where I actually am). Also, the lowest yield of the W54/Davy Crockett was 10 tons, a mere firecracker!

  2. Tim says:


    NUKEMAP is both fun and sobering all at the same time. One thing you might consider adding is a 10kt improvised nuclear explosive. This is the hypothetical threat that was outlined in national security planning scenario #1.

  3. John W says:

    Wow, this is really incredible! I’m very taken with the overpressure/blast area stats. Well done!

  4. Ash says:

    Great app, and definitely sobering! Although the effects of dirty bombs can’t be calculated so “cleanly”, I wonder if it would be possible to write a similar app for a dirty bomb.

  5. […] been chuffed by the reception of NUKEMAP. Since I posted it last Friday morning, nearly 700 people have nuked themselves, or others, using […]

  6. […] Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), sent me scans of a really wonderful precursor to the NUKEMAP. It comes from a 1950 publication by the National Industrial Conference Board titled, If an A-Bomb […]

  7. […] ingenious app was developed by Alex Wellerstein, a scholarly historian on all things nuclear weapons, who was not satisfied with the current […]

  8. MRdahut says:

    Excellent resource. I would be curious if you would consider adding a few natural events to the list to give a sense of scale. Things like the Yucatan impact or Tunguska. Even the Arizona impact crater. I think it would be interesting to see the comparison between those events and man made tech

    • That’s an interesting idea. Wikipedia says that Tunguska was equivalent to 15 megatons or so, while the Yucatan impact is listed as being 100 teratons (that is 100,000,000 Mt), which is a bit hard to visualize (and a bit humbling). The problem with adding them as “presets” or anything like that is that the scaling for those sorts of events is not the same as a nuclear weapon.

  9. leslee hare says:

    Wow. This should be required “gaming” for everyone. Thank you.

  10. Simon says:

    London must be a nuclear free zone, as no matter how many times I hit detonate, it ain’t blowing up…! I distinctly remember being a kid in the 80s living near several royal air force bases in england and having the teacher draw out a map like yours showing the zones and where our school was (ie in the middle). I think the official advice was to paint the walls and windows white and hide under a brightly painted table. Even at the age of 9, we all found gallows humour at the lunacy of it all.

  11. gribley says:

    This is amazing. For those of us who grew up under the nuclear threat, and want to relieve those days, perhaps you could add some standard Soviet ICBM/SLBM warheads? I don’t know much about the Soviet missile designs, but for example the SS-18 seem to have carried a number of ~750 KT warheads, or one 20 MT warhead. A few of these entries would give context to our fearful youth! nice work.

    • I’ve been working on a big update which will add some more features (fallout in particular), including some more historical yields and locations. One interesting one is the R-12 (SS-4) missile — 2.3 Mt – which was what was being deployed to Cuba during the Missile Crisis.

  12. David says:

    Very nice tool. I live in an area with a number of hills. Would it be possible to use the elevation contours of the map to modify the radius? It would make it look more like a blob than a circle.

    • Hi David: The scaling equations used here are very simple and don’t take into account anything like topology. If one had equations that did so, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to do some hand-waving equations based on the Google Maps API’s topological data. The downside is that the equations would be much more processor-intenseive, and probably not be as flexible. There are effects simulators out there that take many more variables into account, but they are pretty highly technical, which would get away from the accessibility of the current NUKEMAP. But someday this might be something to pursue — to find a way to take those more technical simulators and generalize them enough to be used with the Google Maps API.

  13. leloup says:

    Modern ballistic nukes are MIRV, not single warheads. For example the Peacekeeper contains 10 heads of 300 kt each, which makes 3 Mt on a more “concentrated” area. The effect is far more destructive, since the yield of a nuke increases only slightly with the amount of Kt.

    The application should show a MIRV impact on a certain area. That would be much closer to reality.
    For example a single “Pakistani” warhead would take out most of Tel-Aviv, but 4-5 MIRV with the same yield by head would send Israel as we know it into oblivion.

    Otherwise the application is really neat

    • Of course — that’s why you can plant multiple explosions if you want to. But not all nuclear powers have MIRVed missiles, and even those who have them are restricted by various treaties into how many warheads they can put on each one. Pakistan, for example, does not have MIRV technology, as far as I know. (Ditto Iran, if that’s the implication.)

  14. […] Alex Wellerstein是一名骨灰级的核武器爱好者,他对核武器的一切都感兴趣。由于对网上现有的核武器计算器不满,他自己动手开发了一个 网页应用NUKEMAP。 […]

    • Aaron Nelson says:

      Amature? Chinese to English translation please… This is what translation I got from WordLingo.

      Blasts XX city how with the atomic bomb to be able? How nucleus military map does (NUKEMAP) tell you effect says:
      February 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

      […] Alex Wellerstein is a bone ash level nuclear weapon amateur, he is interested to nuclear weapon all.Because the existing nuclear weapon calculator is discontented to the net on, he began to develop a homepage to apply NUKEMAP. […]

      Are we dealing with a Chinese Nuclear Scientist here?

      • Aaron Nelson says:

        The link appears to be a Chinese Version of NUKEMAP… Who was first?

        • It is just a story about NUKEMAP in Chinese. Google Maps will display placenames in whatever language is local if you have it set up to do so. Given that I am described as a “bone ash level”, I wouldn’t rely much on the accuracy of that translation… Google Translate says it says I am “a hardcore of nuclear weapons enthusiasts,” which makes a little more sense.

          • Aaron Nelson says:

            Oh I guess I should’ve used Google for the translation… I must’ve already been in the mindset of the Chinese Government copying nearly everything originally created in the USA. These figures are based on 200W^1/3 Optimum burst height? That is for maximizing 15 PSI overpressure. I know military targets are usually 60W^1/3 instead.

  15. Arnold Bogis says:

    A year’s fellowship at Belfer and no love for Graham?

    Truth be told, in comparison to yours his doesn’t appear too sophisticated. But when designed the idea was not to be delineate effects but to give the general public an estimate of the results of various types of damage from a nuclear terrorist attack. And the strength of his maps, and the one weakness of yours, was the ability to enter local addresses quickly. In fact, when it first went live in 2004 it was pretty unique in that regard, since Mapquest owned the online map market and was not open sourced in the manner of Google Maps today. And please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you built off the HYSESim model – more preset locations and yields, but still no ability to just enter an address. Instead of figuring out longitude and latitude, yours allows for dragging. An improvement, but still a clunky interface in terms of making it visceral for one’s hometown.

    If you are trying to integrate fallout, the one thing I would suggest is looking at is Hotspot out of Livermore. It integrates a nuclear fallout calculator that will overlay on Google Earth. So perhaps that could be done as a drop down menu as well on a web-based tool.

    And just let go of the dirty bomb scenarios, unless you are willing to work out specific source terms in a drop box that doesn’t allow for much variation.

    • Hi Arnold: I didn’t realize that Allison also had a map. I’d considered adding address drop-boxes in it, but found the dropping to be a bit more straightforward as an interface (and thought people might be disconcerted with me asking for typed-in addresses!). Well, we’ll see. I might or might not add an address box; it’s an easy enough technical thing, but keeping it simple is part of the goal, here.

      I’ve been looking at Hotspot and lots of similar programs. The problem is that most of them are rigorous enough to require inputting quite a lot of variables, and don’t expose their calculations readily. So it doesn’t make them very adaptable to this sort of format. Again, I think the goal here is to keep it simple. So we’ll see; I’ve almost got some fallout codes that are “good enough” for educational use (I wouldn’t claim them to be any better, nor with the calculations above).

      And I agree — and have tried to emphasize to whomever has asked — that dirty bombs are entirely different creatures.

  16. Saviour-V says:

    Considering that no one’s dropped a bomb on Malaysia yet, thank God (because that’s where I’m from), I was curious as to what a Davy Crocket (the lowest yield of bomb) would do to someone’s house.

    As it turned out, it also took out a number of other places, including a shopping mall, and an old folks’ home. Devastating, and yet fun, in a morbid sort of way. Not the bit about destroying an old folks home, mind you, but using a nuclear weapon just to take out someone you have a large grudge on, like a few corrupt politicians or a lousy boss for instance, seems like way too much firepower to use for a satisfying kill.

    Maybe I should consider more localized armaments in my quest for world domination. *laughs evilly…*

    Just kidding, by the way.

  17. MO H says:

    How do i use it? No image shows up onthe page? Do I have to be registered first?

    • No registration. Let me know what browser/OS you’re using, though, if you’re having trouble getting it working. I’ve tried it on IE9, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, without any problems, but I’ve seen here-and-there that some people can’t get it to show up.

  18. Hey Alex, Eric of HYDEsim here. Love the tool (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) and what you plan to do with it! I’m particularly keen to see how you plan to handle fallout patterns; it’s something I’ve considered adding to HYDEsim but never managed to quite work out how best to determine direction and spread of fallout patterns. I’m also curious why you chose 20psi and 4.6psi as the blast-wave thresholds, particularly the latter.

    There is one bit about NUKEMAP that concerns me at the moment, and that’s the thermal radiation radius. The result you return seems to correspond to roughly 10cal/cm^2, which is reasonable; that’s the outer distance at which one can say there are likely to be initial mass fires (20cal/cm^2 being the zone of certain mass fires). However, you don’t seem to account for atmospheric effects. A foggy day will dramatically cut down the thermal transmissivity that you’d expect from a clear day, for example—for a 100KT explosion, you’d expect a radius just under a mile, whereas on a clear day it would be just under three miles. Based on NUKEMAP’s results I’m guessing it always assumes a clear day, though not exceptionally clear. True?

    On that note, one other map you may have missed, one only focused on thermal radiation: (full disclosure: I assisted during the early development stages).

    • Hello Eric!

      For fallout, what I’ve been doing is working on a function that will interpolate from more rigorous models to draw some simple ellipses. Not exactly rigorous stuff, but it should do for getting across the main point, which is that fallout travels very far.

      I definitely don’t account for atmospheric effects, or ground effects, or building types, lots of other important things that would impact a real-world blast. I’ve wanted to strip out as many variables as possible, just for simplicity’s sake. In some cases that would mean the bombs would be less effective than shown on here; in others it might mean they were more effective. I figure it evens out for educational purposes, where the rough magnitudes are most important to me.

      As for the pressure zones, 20 psi seemed to correspond with “just about everything gets smashed,” and 4.6 psi seemed to correspond with “most residential buildings are smashed.” The equations for those (and everything else) are taken from Carey’s page. Obviously there are somewhat arbitrary lines to draw when deciding what effects to show and what not to, but my main goal was to focus on qualitative effects that people could make sense of intuitively.

      All of these scaling equations are hand-wavy and simplified. This isn’t meant to be a stone-cold-serious physics simulation.

      I’ve been meaning to link to the Nuclear Darkness page as well; I’d only recently become aware of it. Interesting — disturbing — stuff! (So disturbing, I might add, that the web filter we use at work has it categorized as “tasteless and offensive.” I wonder how long it is until they categorize my site as that…) Thanks for reminding me.

      • I completely understand the desire to simplify! I was just thinking that atmospheric effects are pretty easy to account for, which is why Nuclear Darkness (and my own private version thereof) does so—it’s pretty much just a single dampening factor. I believe I got my effects table from Glasstone and Dolan, 3rd Edition, like the rest of my data. Still, even if you don’t want to add that bit of complexity, it might be worth noting in the explanatory text that the thermal radiation distance assumes a clear day.

        Having read Sublette’s FAQ again, I think I understand the 4.6psi ring now—it’s the point Sublette apparently picks as marking the ‘ring of death’, so to speak. That seems a bit oversimplistic to me, given (as he says) that some inside will live and some outside will die, but I suppose we have to stop somewhere. My goal in HYDEsim was for charting zones of blast damage for a surface explosion. As NUKEMAP and the Nuclear Darkness tool both make clear, the real threat of an air-burst nuclear weapon is from thermal radiation, not blast waves—at least, assuming an optimal-altitude detonation.

        Your fallout ideas sound pretty similar to what I’ve kicked around in my head. I’ll be really interested to see what you come up with. Hey, maybe you could link to a weather data source to show the fallout patterns using current wind speed and direction for a given location! I know, easy for me to say when you’re the one doing the implementation…

        I have to admit I’m a little bit jealous—when I created HYDEsim, there were no circle functions in the Google Maps API, so I had to draw my circles as optimally many-sided polygons! (Uphill both ways in the snow, etc., etc.; you kids today have it too easy; also, get off my lawn.) Perhaps NUKEMAP will be the spur I needed to update HYDEsim with the latest GMaps API as well as some other things I’ve always wanted to do with it. Thanks!

  19. NinjaDuckie says:

    I know it’s not strictly a nuclear warhead detonation, but would it be possible to also plot the size and radiation radius of the Chernobyl disaster? Or to at least, from that data, add a category for ‘nuclear power plant meltdown’?

    It’s all rather impressive and quite chilling.

    • I was planning to do something with nuclear reactors as my next mapping project, but lord knows my enthusiasm for more mapping projects is not as high as it was before I felt so scrutinized! I don’t want to put anything with reactors onto a bomb map, just because it really irritates technical people when they are talked about in the same sentence (for good and less-good reasons). But anyway — we’ll see.

  20. Arnold Bogis says:

    This is really a great effort. After trying it out, the only other feature that I would suggest adding (besides what you come up with in terms of fallout) is the capability to easily capture the image of the blast map one creates. If possible, a link to export the map to an image file or .pdf that can easily be printed out or added to a PowerPoint or similar presentation.

    Allison still gets a number of requests for help in capturing the images off his generator and you’ll likely get the same soon.

    • Hi Arnold — That’s an interesting idea. It should be do-able. I’m going to wait until the traffic dies down (I… keep… waiting) though before trying anything like that, as it would probably incur serious server load. At the moment, the only reason my $5/month servers haven’t completely blown up is because all of the NUKEMAP’s computation is client-side. Anything that involves bitmapped image processing takes a very heavy CPU overhead.

  21. BBowler says:

    I think it would be very usefull if it could calculate in a rough estimate the casualties (immediate and longterm)

    Is there a way to overlay a population density map or something like it?

    • Technically, yes. Practically… it’s hard. This site shows basically how I’d do it (you’d plot a rough polygon at the 5psi diameter and grab the population data from there). It uses the high resolution Landscan population density database, which is what you’d need for sizes on par with the diameters of most nuclear weapons (which are very large on a human scale, but not so large on a geographic scale).

      But the coding is non-trivial and requires hooking it up to a monstrous population database, and would probably require more intensive server hosting than I currently have. So it would require a lot of work, and probably some amount of money, to pull it off. So it’s out of the cards for the moment.

      (Should anybody want to give me the aforementioned money, or assistance, necessary to do this, please get in touch! It would be a fun project.)

      One could just overlay a density map (it would have to be pretty high resolution to accommodate most zoom levels), but I think it’d be pretty hard to visually estimate casualties from that. (It would tell you things like, “lots of people live in cities,” but you probably already knew that.)

  22. Jasper says:

    Excellent work.
    If I’m at work i’m fried but ifI am home I may be ok unless its the large yield…
    Great way to visualise the effect of being nuked. Are these based of ground or air burst detonations?

  23. Joe C says:

    Nice work. Very scary.

    Question / greedy user request: Have you give any thought to air bust (user selected altitude) vs. ground burst detonations?

    • I have thought about it. I’m averse to putting too many fiddly details in. But I might at some point look up a simple scaling change for the ground burst and make that a little option to click. It would be more realistic for the terrorist scenario weapons than an air burst, of course…

  24. CassieST says:

    Very sobering and a great visual example of why nuclear weapons need to be banned, once and for all time.

    It’s one thing to see historical footage and hear talk of “yields” etc, it’s another to see, even if only in simple form, what the real world impact would be in ones own backyard.

    Suggestion: (as if you didn’t already hve enough!) I notice on the historical preset, that you have Bikina Atoll, Marshell Islands.

    How about a French atmospheric test at Mururoa (1966-1975, particularly if it’s one from 1972/3 when Greenpeace boats and RNZNS frigates were moored off the atoll when the test occured), and of course British tests in Ausralia from 1952-1958 (Maralinga)?

  25. Dave K says:

    Nice job.

    One feature I’d like to see is an option to detonate a simulated full USSR/US exchange of all the now-detargeted targets. It would be really interesting to see what that scenario would have looked like.

  26. John Kennard says:

    Oddly, my reaction to this, other than enjoying and pondering over the effects of nuking my home-town, is that I’m a little alarmed at the “smallness” of the effect radii of say, “Little Boy”, since it worries me that it may cause people (well, idiots like politicians, military people and terrorists) to DOWNPLAY the seriousness of such weapon-use.

    Adding fallout plumes (pick yer windspeed and direction) should help there.

    • Though the flip side of that is to point out that even at a “mere” 16 kilotons (a small bomb by later and current standards), “Little Boy” still managed to kill some 140,000 people (or around 50 times more people than who died in the 9/11 attacks).

      • John Kennard says:

        Do we have a “World 25-Most-Nuked Cities” list yet?

        • I’ve actually spent the better part of today trying to master reverse geocoding (taking lat/lng coordinates and figuring out where they are in the world). So far the top 10 are basically the same as the presets (New York, Washington, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow do particularly poorly). There are lots of easy services out there, but when you’re trying to crunch several hundred thousand lat/lng points, not so much… anyway, in a few days I should have this sorted out.

      • John Kennard says:

        Say, can we have an “all windows blown out” air-pressure-wave radius, do you think? that would be, one presumes, a very wide radius, wider than any of those you have at present–and dramatic enough . . . .

  27. […] there are others on the Internet who have done similar things… I tried to give credit in my original NUKEMAP post to the other simulators out there. Frankly, even those are just the latest iterations in a pretty […]

  28. neeutron dance says:

    No love for neutrons? would be very nice yo visualise blast vs radiation for them? W66, W79, W70.

  29. Stefano says:

    Excellent. What this still lacks, though, is the possibility of saving a cumulative permanent link to multiple NUDETs all over the world map. You CAN build such a map, to show the extent, say, of a limited exchange and its effect on a country, but you can’t save it.

    • A good point. Adding that capability wouldn’t be too hard with the current code; I’ll see what I can do.

    • OK! If you detonate multiple warheads (with the “multiple” button), it will update the permanent link accordingly to show them all, now.

      • Stefano says:

        Really? That’s great! I’ll check it tomorrow.

        • Stefano says:

          AH, just another thingy. A distinction between airburst and groundburst would be useful: the effect are somewhat lessened as for sheer destruction area in case of groundburst, while fallout on the contrary becomes a major concern. Plus, the maps here obviously cannot fully consider the effects of the orography in channelling/deviating/reflecting detonations and thuse further strengthening them. Or those of atmospheric focusing and particular atmospheric conditions (the scenario we’re working on at speaks of a rainy day on my country…). Only to make a point about just how uncertain the whole matter about material effects is, apart the obvious conclusion that nuclear warfare is always sheer genocide, whatever the cause.

  30. sdemetri says:

    Population density of given targets might provide a way of putting a human face on the effects of blasts. Perhaps not an easy piece of data to come up with in all locations.

  31. Chris says:

    Man, this app is excellent! Easy to use and all… It gave me a LOT of help with a post-apocalyptic pen&paper game i am preparing !!!

    Thank you so much again !

  32. Stefano says:

    There’s another issue that popped up as I worked my map about Italy under a full-blown counterforce exchange à la The Day After. The lenght of the permanent link overflows the server’s capability of handling it. Can this be modified in any meaningful way? Otherwise, I can complete my map, but I’m basically forced to keep my pc in sleep mode rather than powering it off at night, to keep the map usbale after maximum length of URL has been reached…
    Then a question, maybe I’m not very insighful, but how can you delete a NUDET? I know you can move them, but a way to pinpoint a particular one (not necessarily the last) and remove it without touching anything else?

    • Once you’ve clicked “multiple,” you can’t edit the others again, just the active one, unless you were manually editing the URL (they are listed in order of first to last as lat/lng/kt triplets).

      As for the overload… hmm. Yes, the length of the lat/lng/kt triplets makes it pretty easy to overload the maximum URL length. I can think of at least one way around it (storing them in a database) but it would take a little work. Maybe over the weekend…

      • Stefano says:

        ok 😉

      • Stefano says:

        Were you able to find some way around the URL lenght issue?

        • I have a way to do it, but haven’t implemented it yet — just been busy this week. But I will get to it fairly soon.

          • Stefano says:

            Still hoping I can one day recover the map I made without the “address too long” issue…

          • I think I’ve fixed it up. Now if you plot more than 4 detonations, instead of having the “Permanent link” be automatic, it will change to “Generate link.” Upon clicking this, it will briefly make a little popup window and then will change to a new type of “Permanent link” link with a hash on it. This method can support very large linkings. (It is more convoluted than I might want, but this seems to be the only workable way to have very large linkages.) I have tested it up to at least 45 detonations and there isn’t any obvious reason why it shouldn’t go on to many more than that. A rather silly example:

  33. Aaron Nelson says:

    Hello, this is a really great app! Finally an app that displays thermal radiation, prompt radiation, and overpressure radii based on yield! I have a few questions though… First, when you state the calculations are based on Optimum Burst Height, are you referring to the height to maximize 15PSI overpressure (200W^1/3)? Or are you referring to military effects overpressure (60W^1/3)? 60W^1/3 is used for the greatest radius of higher pressures (~400PSI) for destroying tanks and bunkers, and also for fallout because it is a lower air burst and picks up dirt and still has some of the benefits of an air burst.

    If you check you can see many military manuals refer to effects on Infantry from a burst at 60W^1/3, but typical air burst like Hiroshima were 200W^1/3. Your app is already really great, but it would be even better if you could choose burst height or atleast choose surface or air, at least know what type of burst height, 60W or 200W? And displaying different overpressure and thermal radiation levels would be great too, like 15PSI 7PSI 5PSI, and 1st Degree 2nd Degree 3rd Degree, 5th Degree, or ever 500 Rems and 100 Rems Radii…

    A reply would be GREATLY appreciated, I am intrigued by nuclear weapons and their effects, and I am really curious about some of the details of this app. If you could email me or reply on here I would really appreciate it if u have the time. This is by FAR the best app for Nuclear Weapon Effects that I have seen yet! Thank you for your time and attention!


  34. Aaron Nelson says:

    Oh another thing, 60W^1/3 is normally associated with counter-force targeting, usually harder military type targets. But 200W^1/3 is associated with counter-value targeting, soft targets such as office buildings and houses. For a 1kt weapon the effects at 200m are a little more widespread than at 60m, but the fallout from particles picked up is minimal and really spread out, while 60m is much higher because of dust picked up from the low burst, and as a result is much more local as well.

    I have a blast effects table I have been working on as well, including crater formulas using the NEW calculation, instead of the flawed calculations used previously due to tests on wet island soil. I am just making a table however, not an app, nor do I have the technical expertise for that.

    I just share a common interest and curiosity and would love to discuss this matter in greater detail if you have the time. I could send you the data I have as well, and we could compare our results. I have data for surface, and both types of air bursts.

    I was in the Army until recently, and was going to pursue a career in applied physics. Nuclear Weapons to be precise. The career is way to exclusive though, so just going back to the intelligence world is better for me, as it was while I was in the military.

    Well I hope to hear from you soon, if you would like. Thank you and have a good day.


  35. Michael says:

    Hi Alex,

    First, Great Job!!!

    Since you wrote: “Wish this did something that it doesn’t? Let me know.”, here are my ideas:

    I think it would be really dramatic if, instead of the effects appearing instantaneously upon detonation, the effects were to appear in “slow motion”, starting with the fireball, and proceeding through the edge of the displayed Thermal radiation radius. For added effect, a progressive timeline bar could be displayed near the bottom of the map.

    Another dramatic effect could be a momentary whitening of the full heat radius at the instant of the blast, fading immediately and followed by the above suggested slow motion progression.

    Another idea might be (if in satellite mode) to replace map detail within the fireball radius with no detail, representing obliterated structures. Perhaps an exaggeration, but previously visible streets could be hidden by ash and debris, if not part of the crater. Come to think of it, you could also darken the area inside the crater, to represent depth.

    To help control all this, an additional parameter could be the blast height. If not specified, one could be arbitrarily chosen for maximum effect…

    – Michael

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