Tipping elements in the Earth's climate system

Lenton, Timothy M., Held, Hermann, Kriegler, Elmar, Hall, Jim W., Lucht, Wolfgang, Rahmstorf, Stefan and Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim (2008) Tipping elements in the Earth's climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105 (6). pp. 1786-1793.

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Abstract

The term "tipping point" commonly refers to a critical threshold at which a tiny perturbation can qualitatively alter the state or development of a system. Here we introduce the term "tipping element" to describe large-scale components of the Earth system that may pass a tipping point. We critically evaluate potential policy-relevant tipping elements in the climate system under anthropogenic forcing, drawing on the pertinent literature and a recent international workshop to compile a short list, and we assess where their tipping points lie. An expert elicitation is used to help rank their sensitivity to global warming and the uncertainty about the underlying physical mechanisms. Then we explain how, in principle, early warning systems could be established to detect the proximity of some tipping points.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Rosie Cullington
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2011 14:13
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 18:58
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/24864
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0705414105

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