Doomsday Clock: Scientists prepare to announce whether humanity is closer to apocalypse than ever before

The clock is already the closest to midnight that it’s been since the nuclear age

Russian troops in protective gear during training in 2010
Russian troops in protective gear during training in 2010

Scientists could be about to announce that the world is closer to apocalypse than it has ever been before.

The experts that decide the time on the “Doomsday Clock” are to announce what time it is this year. And early indications suggest that the board — which includes 16 Nobel Laureates — will announce that we are closer to “midnight” than we have ever been before.

The clock is already as close to midnight as it has ever been. It was adjusted forward one minute in January 2015, taking it to three minutes to midnight and the closest it has been to catastrophe since the early days of hydrogen bomb testing.

The decision about what time the Doomsday Clock should be set to will be made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists .That group was formed in 1945, by University of Chicago scientists who worke don the first atomic weapons.

The clock counts down to midnight, or so-called apocalypse. It attempts to use that model to communicate how at-risk the humanity and the planet is.

The board considers risks like nuclear weapons and climate change to decide how at risk the Earth is. And in its announcement release earlier this month, it seemed to indicate that the 2016 adjustment could move it closer to midnight.

“Tensions between the United States and Russia that remain at levels reminiscent of the Cold War, the danger posed by climate change, and nuclear proliferation concerns, including the recent North Korean nuclear test, are the main factors influencing the decision about any adjustment that may be made to the Doomsday Clock,” the Bulletin’s announcement read.

“In January 2015, the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand advanced two minutes, moving from five to three minutes before midnight, the closest it has been to catastrophe since the early days of above-ground hydrogen bomb testing.”

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