Is apocalypse near? How the Doomsday Clock tracks nuclear, climate threats

The world has been 100 seconds away from “midnight” — the symbolic hour of apocalypse — since 2020, according to the Doomsday Clock. The people who run it say they

have been using the clock for more than seven decades to convey the level of risk from existential threats, from nuclear weapons to climate change. This year, they will

set the hands of time on the clock on Tuesday. It’s the first update since Russia’s war in Ukraine revived fears of a nuclear disaster in a year of fires and floods around the

world. Here’s what to know about the metaphorical timepiece: What is the Doomsday Clock? It’s not an actual clock — it’s a symbol designed by the Bulletin of the Atomic

Scientists, featuring a quarter of a clock, with hands that serve as a metaphor for “how close we are to destroying our world.” The organization updates the setting of the hands

each year — right now, the clock is at the closest point it has been to midnight since its inception in 1947. At the time, the clock symbol was designed as an analogy for

the threat of nuclear war, spurred by the Cold War arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The scientists originally behind the clock included some who had

participated in the Manhattan Project, which produced the world’s first atomic bomb. The clock setters have since considered a wider range of issues, including the impact

of climate change, which was added in 2007. A physical version of the clock is at the University of Chicago.