The Data Behind The Doomsday Clock: Nuclear, Climate, or Robots In 2015?

New “Doomsday Dashboard” provides science behind the clock for the first time.

Source – The Bulletin 

 

Doomsday Dashboard 

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic.  The Bulletin has unveiled a new interactive Dashboard illustrating the science that informs the time of the Bulletin’s iconic Doomsday Clock. In January, the change in time of the Clock to 3 minutes to midnight received worldwide attention, and today for the first time the Bulletin provides an easily accessible graphic on some of the factors that drove the change. 

“We are inundated each year with questions about how we decide the time of the Clock,” said Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin. “We always post a very thorough explanation of the Science and Security Board’s decision, but the new Dashboard will give a terrific, detailed look at some of the actual data the Board takes into account.”

The Doomsday Dashboard features interactive graphics. Care to know the number of nuclear weapons in the world in 1983? Just hover your mouse over the Global Nuclear Weapons graph. In companion graphs, you can see how many metric tons of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium each country has stored, and you can even see which countries have had security breaches with nuclear material, and the types of incidents that have occurred. The Dashboard also provides links to the latest research in biosecurity and emerging technologies: everything from information on the dangers from “gain-of-function” research to coverage of the global development of killer robots and cyber warfare.

“Some of graphs provide important information that I think most people can’t really visualize,” said John Mecklin, editor of the Bulletin. “You may have a general idea that scientists are worried about sea level rise, but to see the graph slope upward so dramatically over the last 15 years really brings it home.”

The Doomsday Dashboard provides four important data sets:

  • Global sea rise in millimeters since 1993
  • The parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1958
  • Annual and five-year differences in global temperature
  • Arctic sea ice minimums in millions of square kilometers.

Doomsday Clock 

The Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies. The new interactive Dashboard provides a powerful look at what is being considered each year when the Clock is set.

“Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 17 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.” – Editor, Bulletin

What are the biggest risks of 2015? 

In 2015, the following are the biggest threats to humanity per the Bulletin:

  • Unchecked climate change
  • Global nuclear weapons modernizations
  • Outsized nuclear weapons arsenals 

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