World War 3: What is the Doomsday Clock? Does it predict WW3 and what are the current minutes to midnight?

THE Doomsday Clock has held a prominent place in pop culture since it was launched in 1947.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 6:30 pm

From appearing in the likes of Watchmen to inspiring a Linkin Park album in the mid-00s.

However you might be wondering what it actually is.

HMS Argyll firing trials of the new Sea Ceptor air defence system. Picture: Royal Navy

But what is the Doomsday Clock and can it predict World War Three?

Here's all you need to know:

What is the Doomsday Clock?

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.

It has existed since 1947 and is maintained by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board.

During the cold war it was used as an analogy for the chances of global nuclear holocaust.

With midnight representing a global catastrophe and the ‘minutes’ to midnight representing how close the world is to it.

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While originally referring to a nuclear apocalypse - the Doomsday clock also now includes climate change as part of the global catastrophe.

What is the current ‘minutes to midnight’?

In January 2020, the clock was moved to 100 seconds to midnight – and it remains at that level.

It was announced this week that it would be remaining at this level due to the dangerous threats posed by nuclear weapons, climate change, disruptive technologies and COVID-19

This is the closest the Doomsday Clock has been to midnight since 1953 - when the hands were also at 2.

The furthest it has been from midnight was 17 - following the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

However the closest the world came to a Nuclear War was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 - but that climax and resolved before the minutes could be changed.

Does the Doomsday Clock predict WW3?

No the clock isn’t a predictor of the chances of World War Three just the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board’s belief of how close the world is to a global man-made catastrophe.

When deciding on the minutes to midnight for any given year they consider a wide range of factors – which might include Politics, Energy, Weapons, Diplomacy, and Climate science.

With potential threats including nuclear threats, climate change, bio-terrorism, and artificial intelligence.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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