Doomsday Clock At 5 Minutes To Midnight: Will We See A Nuclear War In 2013?

By Staff Reporter on January 15, 2013 4:39 PM EST

Doomsday Clock
Doomsday Clock is fixed at 5 minutes to midnight. Scientists say nuclear threats and higher levels of global warming threaten humanity. (Photo: Reuters)

An assembly of physicists and scientists came together to introduce the Doomsday Clock in 1947, a symbolic clock used to address the severity of the threat of nuclear annihilation against humanity. In the decades the followed, the clock slowly evolved to also consider our destruction from biological weapons, climate change and other human-caused disasters.

For 2013, scientists announced that the infamous Doomsday Clock will remain frozen at just five-minutes-to-midnight. A rather straightforward representation, the closer the hands are to midnight, the closer we get to human destruction.

Like Us on Facebook

A grim outlook, the organization wrote an open letter before President Barack Obama in hopes for the United States to conduct steps that will get global leaders to respond to climate change. In the past couple of years, severe weather conditions caused severe damages and loss of lives around the world including earthquakes and tsunamis in Haiti and Japan, severe droughts in Australia, and a massive hurricane along America's Eastern seaboard.

The letter said, "2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, marked by devastating drought and brutal storms. These extreme events are exactly what climate models predict for an atmosphere laden with greenhouse gases."

Despite the mounting environmental concerns, the scientists did indicate that growing support for green technology is a step in the right direction. The letter gave credit to the president for supporting renewable energy sources and taking steps to approach a more rational energy path for the country.

"We have as much hope for Obama's second term in office as we did in 2010, when we moved back the hand of the Clock after his first year in office. This is the year for U.S. leadership in slowing climate change and setting a path toward a world without nuclear weapons."

A major component to the clock's position, nuclear weapons first set the Doomsday time to seven minutes before midnight in 1947. By 1949, growing tension between superpowers U.S.A. and the Soviet Union moved the clock forward to just three minutes to midnight. By 1953, the testing of hydrogen bombs caused the Doomsday clock to move yet another minute closer.

Finally, in 1991, the Cold War had thoroughly ceased and the clock was moved back to 17 minutes to midnight.

Unfortunately, a gradual shift back towards midnight was observed when nuclear disarmament did not proceed as planned. What's more, threats of nuclear terrorism as well as activities in highly politically tense countries including Iran and North Korea have also caused raised tensions worldwide.

While its safe to say that the world still has a 5-minute cushion before the hour hand strikes 12, it's clear that both political and environmental issues still have a long way to go in the year ahead.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)