New Report: Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system

Share widely


(April 2020) Abstract. Increasing attention is focusing upon “climate tipping elements” –large-scale earthsystems anticipated to respondthrough positive feedbacksto anthropogenic climate change by shifting towards new long-term states. In some but not all cases, such changes couldproduceadditional greenhouse gas emissions or radiative forcing that could compound global warming. Developing greater understanding of tipping elements isimportant for predicting future climate risks. Here we review mechanisms, predictions, impacts, and knowledge gaps associated with ten notable climate tipping elements. We also 10evaluate which tipping elements are more imminent and whether shifts willlikely manifest rapidly or over longer timescales. Some tipping elements are significant to future global climate and will likelyaffect major ecosystems, climatepatterns, and/or carbon cycling within the currentcentury. However,assessmentsunder different emissionsscenariosindicate a strong potential to reduce or avoid impacts associated with many tipping elements through climate change mitigation. Most tipping elements do not possess the potential for abrupt future change within years, and some tipping elements are perhaps more accurately 15termed climate feedbacks. Nevertheless, significant uncertainties remain associated with many tipping elements, highlighting an acute need for further research and modeling to better constrain risks.

See full report: https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2020-16/esd-2020-16.pdf

See video explanation: