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Research Last Updated: Jan 25, 2020 - 11:25:54 AM

Doomsday Clock Set at 100 Seconds to Midnight
By E. Kalair, N. Abas, N. Khan, Comsats University, 254/1/20
Jan 25, 2020 - 11:23:38 AM

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Nuclear war is an existential threat to humanity. Climate change, droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, cold snaps, sea level rise, melting glaciers, hunger, extremism and disruptive technologies are emerging threat multipliers. Forest fires in Australia, massive glacier landslides in Himalayas, polar vortex in America, cold snaps after heatwave. Kashmir valley is a potent nuclear flashpoint between India and Pakistan.

Bulletin of the atomic scientists, considering nuclear threat to humanity, theorized the idea of doomsday clock in 1947. Doomsday clock was initially set to 7 minutes to midnight. It was forwarded to 3 minutes to midnight in 1949 and 2 minutes to midnight in 1953. It was set to 7 minutes to midnight in 1960, 12 minutes to midnight in 1963 and 7 minutes to midnight again in 1968.

In last seven decades, the number of existential threats have multiplied with inclusion of climate change as a potential global threat in 2007. After collapse of Soviet Union, doomsday clock was reversed back to 17 minutes to midnight in 1991, but again set to 9 minutes to midnight in 1998 after nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.  Doomsday clock was forwarded to 3 minutes to midnight in 2015-16 and 2 minutes to midnight from 2017 to 2019.

On 23 January 2020 the doomsday clock was forwarded again to 100 seconds to midnight. Kashmir could be a nuclear flashpoint between India and Pakistan. UNSC should solve Kashmir Conflict in the light of its own resolutions as UNO was established in 1945 for the same purpose. Western world supports Indian claim of Kashmir Issue to be bilateral issue between India and Pakistan which in fact is quadrilateral issue among India, Pakistan, Kashmir and United Nations [David 2020].

Climate change and artificial intelligence based disruptive technologies are new potent existential threats to humanity on planet. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 published a landmark report warning that there are just 12 years left to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees this century. The report, which took two years to compile, warned that warming above this threshold would severely increase the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty.

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva said during a session at Davos, that she couldn’t sleep after reading a landmark report into climate change and its effects last year. “All I could think of was my 8-year-old granddaughter, by the times she’s 20 there could be 100 million more poor people because of climate change. By the time she’s 40 there could be over 100 million climate refugees. If she lives to be 90 and the temperature is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, this planet will be barely liveable.” [Oscar 2020].  Greta Thunberg asks world leaders to let the youth live at their time.

Akin to advent of the rifle (British Empire) and the crossbow (Genghis Khan) and the machine gun (Russia), the atomic bomb (America) changed the shape of warfare. Fifth generation warfare is a new form of warfare faced to world community. Fossil fuels combustions have created high concentration of carbon dioxide in atmosphere which are further fueled by forest fires and volcanic eruptions. Australia bushfires are likely to increase carbon dioxide concentrations to 414 ppm, peaking at 417 ppm by May 2020, about 3 ppm above the expected average last year [Nina 2020].
Everything is global, nothing is local in nature. Weather patterns affect ecosystems, which increase carbon dioxide emissions. Ocean pollution in Asia affects Americas and GHG emissions in America affect Asian through thermohaline circulations. Australian bushfires [Marshal 2020] and Philippines volcanic eruptions [Jamela 2020] have significantly increased local and global air pollution as well as GHG emissions. Fallout from Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan had reached thousands miles away.

We may love or hate one another assuming Muslims, Christians, Communists, Hindus and Jews the nature treats us all as one specie. Winds, floods and heatwaves seek no visa to enter from one region into other. We have divided us into various races, religions and countries, nature treats the planet a continuum of land and oceans. We have traversed journey from local to global village. It is time to consider collective survival with united actions.

A Time Bomb Set to Explode on Doomsday

Indian water policy is to stop and divert western rivers to minimize water flow to Pakistan. Modi politics is to drive out minorities, especially Muslims, from India. Indian government, military complex and intelligentsia (Raw) are working on promoting extremism, expansionism and terrorism policies. They have locked 8 million Muslim Kashmiris in their homes since 5 August 2019. One million Indian Army soldiers dishonor women during false flag search operations.

America, Europe and United Nations have kept criminal silence on atrocities and genocides in Kashmir. Pakistan has shown restraint and patience on widespread Muslim carnage in Kashmir. Both countries have hands on their nuclear pushbuttons to annihilate each other. United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was setup to resolve exactly similar international issues but she is waiting for lighting to strike. I wonder when the leaders of India and Pakistan will come of age. A nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would take life of zillions of innocents people.
Nuclear explosion annihilates millions instantly but climate change kills everybody inch by inch. Imagine rising sea levels and flashfloods sinking people. Watch Australian and Brazilian forest fires killing more than one billion animals, dozens of people and burning millions acres properties. An eye opening view is shown here to imagine the plants before and after Australia bushfires.


Heatwaves in southern hemisphere and cold snaps in northern hemisphere have become a norm today. Draughts in east, flashfloods in middle east & Africa, cold spells in Europe and hurricanes in America are daily news todays. Dry lighting in Australia and black snow in Siberia are limits of the two extremes.  

A colossal glacier landslide buried tens of homes and dozens of people in Neelum Valley Kashmire. A twelve year girl was miraculously recovered alive after 18 hours. A man survived 23 days snow exposure in Alaska last month and three Italians 37 days in Stura Valley glacier landslide in 1975. Glacier landslide and heat wave are two extreme weather phenomenon.

A massive glacier landslide in Mid Pole region of Kashmir in Himalayan Valley submerged 67 and injured 75 in several villages in Neelum Valley Kashmir. Glacier avalanche buried four dozen and smashed seven dozen homes. Dangers of more snow storms looming on region due to extreme weather conditions. Access roads are blocked and basic lifelines close during extreme weathers.

Hundreds are missing and roads to the valley have been cut off due to heavy snowfall. Due to the blocked roads, it is difficult for rescue teams to reach the avalanche sites. Pak Army rescued 1122 people and trying to help others in bad weather conditions. Local people are not stranger to snow in this region, but massive snowfall was a white hell in 2020 [Sama 2020].

According to latest news death toll has risen to 106 [Express 2020] in Pakistan to 130 [AFP 2020] both in Pakistan and Afghanistan during recent snow storm. The death toll due to avalanches and landslides after record snowfall and winter rains in different parts of the country has reached 100, with 76 deaths in Neelum Valley of AJ&K. Glacier white washed the several villages, however, a 12-year-old girl luckily was found alive on Tuesday after being buried for 18 hours when an avalanche in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir engulfed the family house [Abu 2020]. A man was reported to survive for 23 days in Alaska snow after his cabin burnt 20 miles away from nearest town [Meagan 2020]. On 19 March 1975, 3 persons survived 37 days burial in snow glacier [Josh 2017].

According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), “76 people died due to avalanches triggered by heavy rains and snowfall in Neelum Valley of AJK and 20 people died in Balochistan. Ninety people sustained injuries in these incidents and were shifted to health facilities by helicopters. The avalanches damaged 2,013 houses in AJK of which 107 are completely damaged and 106 are partly damaged. Rescue teams have been in the field to provide relief to the affected people. As many as 2,000 tents, 1,250 blankets and 2,250 necessary items have been delivered to the affected areas.” [Abdul 2020]. The death toll is likely to continue to rise as NDMA yet trying to reach remote sites.

“At least 93 people died and 76 were injured across Pakistan in recent days – with several still missing –a further 39 were killed in Afghanistan, officials in both countries said on Tuesday… Officials said army men and a paramilitary soldier died in two separate avalanches along the highly militarized border dividing the Himalayan territory between India and Pakistan.” Snow storms kill more than enemy bullets on both sides. Rain triggers glaciers landslide in Kashmir.

Snow and rains have broken three decades records by killing 25 and injuring dozens in Baluchistan.  Mercury has plummeted down to -24C in Siachen, -13C in Baluchistan and 10C in coastal city of Karachi where normal temperature is 18 to 31C. Siberian and western wind bring cold spell in Pakistan every year but this time severity of chill is unbearable.

In winter, Neelum and Hattian Bala in AJ&K, Chitral and Kohistan in KP and Atore, Gilgit, Ghanche, Ghizer and Skardu in G&B are most vulnerable to avalanches and glacier landslides. Landslides in Kashmir, KP, B&J and Baluchistan kill several people and smash dozens of homes. In 2020, recent glacier landslide has killed more than 140 people and smashed hundreds of homes. Glacier meltdown in summer causes floods and glacier landslide in winter shut down basic lifelines.

In summer, Awaran, Gawader, Kech, Kharan, Nushki, Panjgure and Washuk in Baluchistan, Chitral in KP, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, D G Khan, Muzafargarh, Rajanpur and R Y Khan in Punjab and -Dadu, Jamshoro, kambar-Shahdad kot, Kharparkar and Umerkot in Sindh are most vulnerable to droughts. Major droughts from 1997 to 2002 killed 145 and affected 3.3 million people in 23 districts. Due to Indian Ocean Dipole, Pakistan faces severe drought and heat waves. Karachi saw multiple heat waves in 2019.

During monsoon season, Bolan, Chagai, Gwadar, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi, Kech, Kharan, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Nasirabad, Nushki and Sibi in Baluchistan, Buner, Charsadda, Chitral, D I Khan, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Kohistan, Kurram, Lakki, Marwat, Malakand, Mansehra, Mardan, North Waziristan, Noshera, Orakzai, Peshawar, Shangla, South Waziristan, Swabi, Swat and Tank in KP, Bakkar, D G Khan, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhang, Khushab, Layyah, Mianwali, Muzaffargarh, Narowal, R Y Khan, Ranjanpur, Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Sheikhupura in Punjab, Badin, Dadu, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Jamshoro, Kamber, Karachi, Kashmore, Khairpur, Larkana, Sanghar, Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Sukker, T M Khan and Thatta in Sindh, and Bagh, Bhimber, Muzaffarabad, Neelum, Poonch, Astore, Chilas, Diamer, Ganche, Gilgit, Ghizer Hunza, Nagar and Skardu in AJ&K are the most vulnerable to floods and flashfloods. Flashflood of 2010 killed 1,985 and injured 2,946 people in addition to smashing 1.6 million homes.

Queta in Balochistan, Abboabad, Bajaur, Bannu, Charsadda, Chitral, Dir Lower, Malakand, Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar, Sawat, Shanglaand Swabi in KP, Gujrat, Narowal, Okara, Rawalpindi and Sialkot in Punjab, Karachi in Sindh and Bagh, Haan, Haveli, Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Poonch and Sudhno in AJ&K and Astore, Diamer, Gilgit and Ghanche in G&B are most vulnerable to earthquakes. A 7.7 intensity earthquake May 1835 killed 60,000 in Quetta, a 8.3 intensity earthquake in November 1945 killed 4,000 in Makran coast and a 7.6 intensity earthquake in October 2005 killed 73,338 in KP and AJ&K [NDMA 2019].

A similar avalanche hit one of Pakistani military base in Gayari Sector, near the Siachen Glacier region on 7 April 2012, trapping 140 soldiers and civilian contractors under deep snow. The incident occurred at an altitude of about 4,000 meters and 300 km northeast of Skardu. It took several months to discover dead bodies. Rampant rise in snow landslides may be attributed to climate change.

Avalanches are known to occur frequently in the Siachen region, though casualties from them are generally low due to the fact that they normally strike remote, high-altitude "forward bases" with only a handful of troops. The most devastating one prior to this occurred in 2010, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were trapped under massive snow glacier. It is felt that presence of Indian Military on Siachen top burning huge fossil fuels has significantly changed Mid Pole ecosystem by pollution.

Glaciers landslides in Northern Regions of Pakistan often occur in winter months, but not necessarily as sometimes snow landslides happen in summer too. According to Reuters Report, “A menacing black glacier is bulldozing its way down a valley in northern Pakistan, threatening to cut off a vital road link to China and blocking melt-water that could flood villages below. Up close, the surging wall of ice almost 200 meters high, above Hassanabad village in Hunza district, cracked and groaned in the May sun as ice and debris fell off in big chunks.” Snowfall in Skardu has broken 100 year records [Rina 2019].

Global cooling and warming are two limits of climate extremes. Mercury falls down to -24C during snow storms around Mid Pole and rises to 50C plus in plain areas of Pakistan. Glacier avalanche is white hell as massive fire is red inferno. Fire hurts by skin burns and snow harms by frostbite. Heat causes hyperthermia death and chill causes hypothermia death alike. 

Temperature rise in summer and fall in winter used to be part of weather cycle, but soaring heat in summer and chill in winter are new phenomenon. We have seen frost in Punjab during last week after 40 years that used to freeze water in 1970s. Karachi is a coastal city where temperature sustains around 30C throughout the year, but cold wave has plummeted mercury down to 10C.

Current decade was the hottest since temperature recording started. Last year, 2019, was second the hottest year after 2016. Global warming from 1997 to 2004 killed rosewood and acacia trees in Pakistan and India. Global temperature has risen by 1.1C from 1850 to 2019. UN warns of more extreme weathers in 2020. We see forest fires in Brazil, bushfires in Australia, extreme heat wave during summer and extreme cold waves in winter Pakistan are signs of climate change [AFP 2020].

Human exposure to cold and hot is also used to treat them. In sports therapy, an ice bath, cold therapy, is a training regimen usually following a period of intense exercise in which a substantial part of a human body is immersed in a bath of ice or ice-water for a limited duration. Cold therapy may cause hypothermia or shock leading to sudden death [Tipton 1989]

Cold therapy is done by standing or sitting in a bucket or bath of icy water for 10 to 15 minutes. It is hard for first two minutes after which body is numb. Cryotherapy is used to treat muscle lesion or skin condition. Polar bear plunge event in winter is held to raise money for charitable organizations. Ice packs and heating pads can be used to treat everything from arthritis to pulled muscles to inflammation. To treat pain with hot and cold can be extremely effective for injuries.

Learning how to drive in snow, what to do if you fall through ice, and how to create shelter if your home loses heat are valuable skills that can save your life. Hypothermia and frostbite are the real dangers, even in 50 F temperatures, you may losing too much core and limb heat. Protect body heat by trapping your most precious resource. Exposed skin accelerates heat loss, especially through wind. Dress in layers as air trapped between each layer holds your body heat. Hydrate your body as severe cold is as much dangerous as the severe heat. Frostbite occurs when skin or body tissue is damaged from freezing.

In the case of diabetes, dermatitis, vascular diseases, deep vein thrombosis, multiple sclerosis or heart disease discuss doctor before heat or cold therapy. Patients with sensory disorders that prevent them feeling heat or cold such as diabetes can result in nerve damage. You should not use cold therapy on stiff muscles or joint and poor circulation [HL 2020].


David G, The Doomsday Clock Creeps As Close to Midnight As It's Been in Decades, Yahoo News, 24 January 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/doomsday-clock-creeps-close-midnight-182954131.html
Oscar WG, IMF chief 'couldn't sleep' after reading climate report: 'What have we done?' Yahoo News, 23 January 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/davos-2020-imf0-kristalina-georgieva-larry-fink-climate-115530685.html
Nina C, CO2 concentration set for biggest annual rise, fueled by Australian bushfires, Reuters, 24 January 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-australia/co2-concentration-set-for-biggest-annual-rise-fueled-by-australian-bushfires-idUSKBN1ZN0Y5
Marshal S, How Fires In Australia Could Alter Weather Elsewhere Too, Forbes, 5 January 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2020/01/05/how-fires-in-australia-could-alter-weather-elsewhere-too/#3206439fe2c8
Jamela A, Philippines volcanic eruption poses further threats, Al Jazeera, 17 January 2020. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/philippines-volcanic-eruption-poses-threats-200117131112223.html
Sama, Kashmir avalanche death toll rises to 67, Balochistan to 25, Sama TV, 15 January 2020. https://www.samaa.tv/news/2020/01/kashmir-avalanche-death-toll-rises-to-67-balochistan-to-25/
Express, Glacier landslide kills 106 in Azad Kashmir, Daily Express, 15 January 2020. https://www.express.com.pk/epaper/Index.aspx?Issue=NP_ISB
AFP, More than 130 dead as avalanches and floods hit Pakistan and Afghanistan, The Guardian, 15 January 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/more-than-130-dead-as-avalanches-and-floods-hit-pakistan-and-afghanistan
Abu AN, Girl buried under Pakistan avalanche for 18 hours is found alive, Yahoo News, 16 January 2020. https://www.yahoo.com/news/girl-buried-under-pakistan-avalanche-150029055.html
Meagan F, Man survives more than 20 days in frigid weather after cabin burns down in the Alaskan wilderness, Washington Post, 13 January 2020. https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Man-survives-more-than-20-days-in-frigid-weather-14970790.php?ipid=newsrecirc
Josh T, 37 Days Under an Avalanche, FrogStorm 2017. http://frogstorm.com/daily/2017/3/19/37-days-under-an-avalanche
Abdul RA, Death toll due to avalanches, landslides soars to 100, Business Recorder, 16 January 2020. https://www.brecorder.com/2020/01/16/562114/death-toll-due-to-avalanches-landslides-soars-to-100/
NDMA, National disaster response plan, 2019. http://www.ndma.gov.pk/publications/NDMA%20book%20complete.pdf
Rina SK, Pakistan races to protect mountain villages from runaway glaciers, Reuters, 30 May 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-climatechange-glacier-featur/pakistan-races-to-protect-mountain-villages-from-runaway-glaciers-idUSKCN1T00K6
AFP, UN Warns more extreme weather ahead after hottest decade on record, AFP News, 15 January 2020. https://www.afp.com/en/news/15/un-warns-more-extreme-weather-ahead-after-hottest-decade-record-doc-1nq5ph3Tipton MJ (1989). "The initial responses to cold-water immersion in man". Clinical Science. 77 (6): 581–8
HL, Treating Pain with Heat and Cold, Healthline, accessed 17 January 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/treating-pain-with-heat-and-cold#risks

Source:Ocnus.net 2020

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