Data

Estimated explosive power of nuclear weapons deliverable in first strike

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What you should know about this indicator

  • A "megaton" is the explosive energy released by one million tons of TNT. For comparison, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 0.015 and 0.021 megatons, respectively.
  • An equivalent megaton is a way of making the explosive energy of different warheads comparable. It weighs small warheads — in this case those with at most one megaton — more than large ones, because they are relatively more destructive.
  • The exact number of countries' warheads is secret, and the estimates are based on publicly available information, historical records, and experts' estimates.
  • The warheads included here are strategic ones — those designed for use away from the battlefield, such as against military bases, arms industries, or infrastructure.
  • Only those strategic warheads are included that could be deployed — those that could be carried by ballistic missiles, bombers, and submarines in one strike.
Estimated explosive power of nuclear weapons deliverable in first strike
Equivalent megatonnage.
Source
Suh - The Strategic Nuclear Forces Dataset v2.0 (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
January 30, 2024
Date range
1945–2010
Unit
megatons

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

This dataset describes times-series-cross-sectional information on all nuclear-armed states' strategic nuclear forces, and provides three indicators: the deliverable strategic warhead count, the equivalent megatonnage (EMT) index, and the counter military potential (CMP) index.

Retrieved on
January 30, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Kyungwon Suh - The Strategic Nuclear Forces Dataset, monadic data (2023).
Suh, Kyungwon. 2022. “Nuclear Balance and the Initiation of Nuclear Crises: Does Superiority Matter?” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 60, No. 2 (March): 337-351. Doi:10.1177/00223433211067899.

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Estimated explosive power of nuclear weapons deliverable in first strike”, part of the following publication: Bastian Herre, Pablo Rosado, Max Roser and Joe Hasell (2024) - “Nuclear Weapons”. Data adapted from Suh. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/estimated-megatons-of-nuclear-weapons-deliverable-in-first-strike [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Suh - The Strategic Nuclear Forces Dataset v2.0 (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Suh - The Strategic Nuclear Forces Dataset v2.0 (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Estimated explosive power of nuclear weapons deliverable in first strike” [dataset]. Suh, “The Strategic Nuclear Forces Dataset v2.0” [original data]. Retrieved June 15, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/estimated-megatons-of-nuclear-weapons-deliverable-in-first-strike