NPR logo The Doomsday Clock Moves 2 Minutes Closer To Midnight

The Doomsday Clock Moves 2 Minutes Closer To Midnight

Professor Richard Somerville of the University of California in San Diego on Thursday unveils the "Doomsday Clock" showing a move toward disaster. i

Professor Richard Somerville of the University of California in San Diego on Thursday unveils the "Doomsday Clock" showing a move toward disaster. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Professor Richard Somerville of the University of California in San Diego on Thursday unveils the "Doomsday Clock" showing a move toward disaster.

Professor Richard Somerville of the University of California in San Diego on Thursday unveils the "Doomsday Clock" showing a move toward disaster.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) has moved the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to disaster. It now stands at three minutes before midnight.

The BAS was created in 1945 by the scientists who had participated in the Manhattan Project, developing the atomic bomb. They came up with the Doomsday Clock in 1947, after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, to alert the public to the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Midnight represents a global catastrophe.

Since the clock's creation, it's been adjusted 18 times — sometimes farther from midnight to reflect improvement.

The scientists moved the clock toward destruction today because they are worried about climate change and efforts to modernize nuclear weapons stockpiles. The BAS expressed particular concern over rising sea levels. The last time the clock was at the 11:57 p.m. mark was in 1984, when tensions escalated between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The Doomsday Clock's minute hand was last moved in January 2012, when it was pushed by a minute to five till midnight.

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