Earth inching closer to 'Doomsday' - scientists

The Doomsday Clock has been moved another 30 seconds closer towards midnight and the end of the world.

It is now sitting at 11:58pm, with the panel from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists saying the world is not only more dangerous now than it was a year ago, it is as threatening as it has been since the height of the Cold War.

"North Korea's nuclear weapons program made remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks to North Korea itself, other countries in the region, and the United States," the panel said in a statement.

"Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation."

Created in 1947, the symbolic clock takes into account the threat of nuclear war, climate change and other man-made means of destruction.

The United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate deal appears to also have been an influence on the latest move.

"Divorcing public policy from empirical reality endangers us all," theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss said at a news conference in Washington DC. "What we need is evidence-based policy making, not policy-based evidence making."

The Doomsday Clock was last this close to midnight in 1953, when the US and its rival the USSR were regularly testing ever-larger atomic bombs.

The furthest it's been from midnight was 17 minutes, at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

It was last moved 30 seconds forward just days after Donald Trump became US President.

Last week, Hawaiians braced for impact after a missile alert was mistakenly broadcast across the state.