The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced where the minute hand lies on the "Doomsday Clock," a figurative clock that indicates how close the world's leading scientists think humans are from destroying the planet, today in Washington, D.C.
The clock now reads 2 and a half minutes to midnight, the closest we have been in 64 years.
Midnight on the clock represents "doomsday." The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the higher the chance of a global cataclysm, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the group who set the "time" on the symbolic clock.
The clock's minute hand is assessed each year, and the clock's time "conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making," the Bulletin said on its website.
Last year, scientists announced the clock remained at "three minutes to midnight" due to climate change and "extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity" by the modernization of nuclear weapon arsenals.
In 2015, the clock was moved to "three minutes to midnight," from its place at "five minutes to midnight" in 2014.
To determine this year's time, scientists considered factors including "strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump’s comments on nuclear arms and climate issues prior to his inauguration on Jan. 20, a darkening global security landscape that is colored by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise," the Bulletin said.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons under The Manhattan Project. The scientists created the "Doomsday Clock" two years later in 1947 as an expression of concern about the use of those weapons.
The decision to move the clock's time is made by the group's Science and Security Board, in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel Laureates.