Opinion | Underground Nuke Testing A Major Contributor To Climate Change: The Hansen Hypothesis

Image via 123RF – Nuclear explosion.

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I received this email from our alumnus, Clay Hansen, on November 5, 2021,

“Sir, it’s one of your old students. I need your help. Included is a link to my paradigm-shifting theory on climate change. I need your help determining the control equation for greenhouse gas concentration to the standard solar cycle (9- 11 years). My illness seems to have eaten my controls knowledge. Damn it. Lol. Thank you for your help!! Clay W. Hansen, PE”

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Clay Hansen uploaded his posts to the internet in 2020, explaining his rationale for the hypothesis, underground nuke detonations are a major contributor to global warming.

In his posts, Hansen writes,

“When I was a student in the J. B. Speed School of Engineering’s Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Louisville, Professor Dean Harper had apparently completed, by hand, the entire mass and energy balance with greenhouse gases across the globe, and it just didn’t add up. And that was in 1989-90! Then, I saw the NOAA temperature chart in or about the year 2000, and the sudden change in slope around 1960 seemed ominous. That is when I began to think, nukes had to be involved, somehow.”

By that time, Hansen had put in six years in the US Air Force working on Ground Electronics and Targeting for the Minuteman II and III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

There is a consensus among global scientists that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and fossil fuels are responsible for the dramatic rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

The delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held at Glasgow, Scotland during October 31 – November 12, 2021 committed themselves to accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Clay Hansen brings a fresh perspective on global warming to the attention of scientists and policy makers: “Underground nuclear testing is a major contributor to global warming, and by comparison, the contribution of fossil fuels to it, although not insignificant, is relatively small.”

How The Earth’s Temperature is Regulated

The Earth’s temperature is a highly complex self-regulated and finely tuned control system, just like our body. This can be understood by studying the Earth’s energy balance: Sun’s energy in – Earth’s energy out = Earth’s energy accumulated.

The Earth’s energy in is radiant heat from the Sun. The Earth’s energy out is also radiant emittance, and a direct function of the Earth’s outer skin temperature, just like the sun. There are numerous disturbances that influence the Earth’s environment which include fossil fuels consumption, forestation & deforestation, global population growth, etc.

The Earth’s skin temperature is controlled through the release and absorption of CO2 in the waters of oceans. Here is how the control system works.

If the electromagnetic energy hitting the Earth from the Sun increases, the oceans’ water temperatures rise ever so slightly. As a consequence, more CO2 evolves from the waters of oceans. This pulls energy from the waters (through the heat of solution of carboxylic acid, aka heat of solution of carbon dioxide in water) and puts it in the air. The air temperature rises as a result of the higher CO2 concentration in the air, as does the Earth’s skin temperature, and consequently, the Earth’s emittance increases.

Since the Earth’s emittance has increased, the air cools, as do the waters of oceans. Consequently, more CO2 is absorbed back into the waters of oceans and the cycle starts again. This is how the earth’s temperature is maintained in a low-amplitude cycle with varying solar activity with the cycle time of about 10 years.

As you can see, the Earth’s temperature is self-regulated. If man-made sources of energy are added, the energy balance is disturbed and the Earth’s temperature rises. The best human beings can do is to remove the source of the disturbance.

The Role Fossil Fuels Play in Global Warming

It is not possible to measure CO2 concentration in the air solely due to the solar cycle as man-made sources that release CO2 into air, such as burning of fossil fuels, are always present. Still, a change in fuel consumption should be expected to have an effect on the CO2 concentration in the air.

A plot constructed from the data of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) depicted in Figure 1 indicates that the change in CO2 concentration in the air perfectly matches the change in fossil fuels consumption up to about 1960, but beyond that year, there is a dramatic divergence between the two. This is what spooked Hansen when he saw the plot in the year around 2,000.

In Figure 1, the left ordinate is Bomb Yield, kiloton, and the right ordinate is CO2, ppm. Hansen constructed the plot from the data in the references cited.

Why Global Warming Has Occurred

The data depict a rise in CO2 concentration over time due to fossil fuels use, but what these data are also telling us is that after the nuclear era began, a copious, and heretofore unaccounted for energy input has been added causing a dramatic rise in the change in the CO2 concentration in the air over and beyond that due to fossil fuels consumption.

Hansen proposes that nuclear detonations is the only plausible source that can explain such large amounts of energy.

How Underground Nuke Testing Has Made Global Warming Worse

The 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty prohibited all detonations of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water except those conducted underground. A Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT, currently limits underground testing to a maximum
force equal to 150 kilotons of TNT.

When a nuclear weapon is detonated above ground, most of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP), light burst, goes to space, and only a relatively small amount is absorbed by the Earth. Still, above ground testing has caused weather issues.

In contrast, when a nuclear weapon is detonated underground, the entire energy must be absorbed by the Earth. Hansen proposes that a portion of this EMP transforms into thermal energy, and somehow finds its way to the oceans’ rocks resulting in the evolution of additional CO2 which leads to additional warming of the Earth.

The energy of a 1 kiloton nuclear bomb detonated underground can potentially evolve 25 kilotons of CO2 (heat of solution of carboxylic acid) when it is absorbed by the oceans’ waters!

Figure 2 shows the change in global average CO2 concentration and the nukes tested, above ground and below ground, in kilotons TNT. Underground testing is shown as negative for graphical clarity. We can see that the change in CO2 concentration started climbing right after the first years of underground nuke testing in and before 1960. The global temperatures too have been rising as they are a direct function of the CO2 concentration in the air.

These data are seen to be supportive of the Hansen Hypothesis. In his posts Hansen theorizes how the energy released by underground nuclear detonations winds up reaching the oceans’ rocks. Notwithstanding the difficulties in validating this theory, the fact that higher and higher concentrations of CO2 in air have occurred, year after year, is a solid indication that the energy released has somehow found its way to reach the oceans.

Mitigation Strategies

Nations are in the midst of a serous campaign to reduce the Carbon footprint through forestation and a global reduction of fossil fuels consumption.

That is great thing, but Hansen’s work suggests that all nuclear detonations must come to a complete halt, pronto. He even half-kiddingly suggests that the world find a way to bundle up huge amounts of energy and manage it to transport it to a planet like Mars. Maybe all the energy input there will warm that planet sufficiently enough to sprout life. Curiously, my first publication was an AIAA Thermophysics Conference article, Prediction of the Thermal Environment of Mars, 1968.

How Hansen’s Work Links To Mine

In 1993, I published an article, “Achieve Total Quality Control of Continuous Processes” in Chemical Engineering Progress, the flagship publication of American Institute of Chemical Engineers, with Mohan Bhalodia of Exxon Chemical, Russel E. Hannula of Rohm Hass, and Clay Hansen as coauthors. That was also the year, my friend and colleague, the late Phoebus Christopher and I, self-published the article, “On the Cyclical Nature of Excellence”. This article explained why cultures rise and decline and presented data supportive of the theory. That work has now morphed into a scientific framework for internal and external excellence toward a better and more peaceful world. Numerous articles and two books (one with Jim Kowall as coauthor) on the framework have been published.

The theory of rise and decline explains that human beings have three components of the mindset, S, R, and T. For reasons that are not well understood, these components undergo transformation over time, inducing rise and decline.

No nation can avoid rise and decline because no one is immune to mindset transformations, and so an ominous question arises: What happens when a nation in possession of nuclear weapons declines, but nuclear weapons remain in its possession. Hansen is absolutely right about the urgency of stopping all nuclear weapons testing, and work toward ridding the planet of these weapons of mass destruction in a time-bound manner.

Kudos To Hansen

Clay Hansen has shown tremendous courage of conviction, an openness of mind, and a willingness to think outside the box. These attributes are extremely important going forward for the following reasons.

Humanity continues to subscribe to the philosophy of renowned 18th Century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, which says, all knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.

All sciences are products of reason. In contrast, Swami Vivekananda says, Indian thought dares to think, and successfully finds something higher than reason. Vivekananda was an Indian monk widely respected in the United States (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal), and revered in India.

In ancient Indian parlance, discoveries that are beyond the domain of reason go by the name, Shruti, meaning revealed (not remembered). Shruti discoveries occur when the focus of attention is sufficiently enhanced as in meditation or prayer. Actually, all discoveries occur this way, most often unknowingly. The discoveries of Albert Einstein and S. Ramanujan fit in this category. Take care, though, Shruti discoveries, once made, must meet the constraints reason imposes of all knowledge.

As an example, intuition is immediate cognition without the benefit of the five senses and the rational mind. See this short video clip depicting children displaying tremendous enhancements in intuition pursuant to a seven-day yoga program. No product of reason can design such a program.

Relatedly, the transformation of mass, m into energy, e in a nuclear detonation occurs according to Albert Einstein’s famous equation, e = mc2, and the nuclear knowhow was developed only in the twentieth century. Scientists still do not know how to transform e into m. Indian masters have preserved the knowhow of how to transform m into e and e into m for millennia.

To tackle the myriad of serious problems facing humanity, such as global warming, renewable energy, desalination, etc., Sciences of Reason and Science of Creativity will both be required.

In Closing

A fresh perspective on how nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity has been presented. Clay Hansen’s hypothesis offers a new perspective on global warming, one that is deserving of serious attention. The mitigation strategies must include cessation of all nuclear weapons testing along with all other initiatives currently underway.

Transcending the domain of reason with meditation could lead to new discoveries and their use together with the products of reason should prove useful in tackling the myriad of challenges facing humanity.

I have recently talked to Clay, and I was saddened to hear that he is now in Hospice Care. He said he very much liked this article, and I have assured him, we will try to bring this article to the attention of large number of scientists, policy makers, leaders, movers, thinkers and shakers worldwide.

At my request, Hansen has provided a seventeen minute video clip in which he explains the Hansen Hypothesis. It is available this YouTube link.


Clay Hansen and I thank Jim Kowall and Mohan Bhalodia for their thoughtful review and comments. The author thanks Tony Belak for his editorial assistance. The author also thanks Clay Hansen for reaching out to him. May the undifferentiated consciousness bestow blessings upon him. I wish things had turned out differently.


  1. Clay Hansen’s Posts, http://aplausibletruthaboutclimatechange.com/
  2. Clay Hansen’s Video Clip on the Hansen Hypothesis, November 15, 2021,
  3. Fuel Consumption Data Source: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/global-fossil-fuel-
  4. CO2 Data Source: https://www.2degreesinstitute.org/
  5. Bomb data Source: Known Nuclear Explosions, Summary (johnstonsarchive.net)
  6. Deshpande, Pradeep B., Hannula, R. E., Bhalodia, M. and Hansen, C. W., Achieve Total
    Quality Control of Continuous Processes, Chemical Engineering Progress, 89, 7, 1993.
  7. Tatom, F. B., Deshpande, P. B., Hung, F. T., and Vaughn, O. H., Prediction of the Thermal
    Environment of Mars, Paper No. 68-749, AIAA Thermophysics Conference, Los Angeles,
    CA, June 24, 1969.
  8. Deshpande, Pradeep B. and Christopher, Phoebus, On the Cyclical Nature of Excellence,
  9. Reflections, 1, 1, 1993.
  10. Deshpande, Pradeep B. and Kowall James P., The Nature of Ultimate Reality and How It
  11. Can Transform Our World, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls Inc., 2015 (amazon).
  12. Deshpande, Pradeep B., Scientific Framework for World Transformation, Dialogue and
  13. Alliance, Universal Peace Federation, 33, 1, Summer 2019.
  14. Deshpande, Pradeep B., Madappa, P. Krishna, and Korotkov, Konstantin, Can Internal
  15. Excellence be Measured? A Preliminary Study, Journal of Consciousness Exploration and
  16. Research, 4, 9, 2013.
  17. Niebuhr, Gustav, Lemont Journal: The Sensational Swami of 1893, The New York Times,
  18. July 11, 1998.
  19. Bardach, Ann L., What Did J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt Have in
  20. Common?, The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2012.

Clay Hansen graduated with an M. Eng. Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of
Louisville in 1992. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
After finishing high school, Clay worked for the US Air force for six years where he worked on
ground electronics and targeting for the minuteman II and III intercontinental missiles. After
graduating from the University of Louisville, Clay worked for several companies including Exxon Chemical, Olin Chemicals, Dow Corning and GE Appliances. He is a certified Six Sigma
Black Belt, and experienced in multivariable process control, six sigma, heat transfer and
thermodynamics. He retired in 2006 on disability. He suffers from Multiple System Atrophy type C, which he says keeps him from doing almost anything…but think. He and his wife, Sheila, live in Maine. He can be contacted at Clayhansen99@gmail.com.

James P. Kowall is an independent researcher based in suburban Eugene, Oregon. He obtained
his PhD in Theoretical Physics from Brown University, and an MD from the University of Miami. He retired from private practice several years ago to spend time researching the nature of ultimate reality. Jim succeeded in his quest in 2014.

Mohan Bhalodia retired as Senior Engineering Associate from Exxon Research & Engineering
Company where he worked in advanced process control and optimization for 28 years. He has
also worked for Sherwin Williams Company as process engineer for two years, and post retirement, consulted for British Petroleum in Spain for ten years. Bhalodia obtained his
Bachelor’s degree from M. S. University in Baroda, India, an MS from Michigan State University, and a PhD from the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, all in Chemical Engineering. Mohan and his wife Rasila live in East Hanover, New Jersey.

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