Climate Tipping Points

This is what climate tipping points will do to Florida by 2050 as sea levels rise. Image: ClimateCentral.org

Abrupt Collapse of Climate System

In This Article

  • Abrupt Collapse of Climate System
  • What’s the Biggest Problem About Climate Tipping Points?
  • Who First Coined the Term Climate Tipping Points?
  • What Does the IPCC Say About Climate Tipping Points?
  • 8 Major Climate Tipping Points
  • 1. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • 2. Drying Out of the Amazon Rainforest
  • 3. Slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)
  • 4. Thawing of Northern Permafrost
  • 5. Collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet
  • 6. Ecological Shifts in the Northern Boreal Forests
  • 7. Loss of Tropical Coral Reefs
  • 8. Hothouse Earth: A Cascade of Climate Tipping Points
  • References

What’s the Biggest Problem About Climate Tipping Points?

Who First Coined the Term Climate Tipping Points?

RELATED

What Does the IPCC Say About Climate Tipping Points?

8 Major Climate Tipping Points

  1. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
  2. Drying Out of the Amazon Rainforest
  3. Slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
  4. Thawing of Northern Permafrost
  5. Collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet
  6. Ecological Shifts in the Northern Boreal Forests
  7. Loss of Tropical Coral Reefs
  8. Hothouse Earth

1. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

2. Drying Out of the Amazon Rainforest

3. Slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

4. Thawing of Northern Permafrost

5. Collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet

6. Ecological Shifts in the Northern Boreal Forests

7. Loss of Tropical Coral Reefs

8. Hothouse Earth: A Cascade of Climate Tipping Points

References

  1. “TPs. Early warning and wishful thinking.” Peter D. Ditlevsen, Sigfus J. Johnsen. Geophysical Research Letters. October 2010.
  2. “How fast are the oceans warming?” Lijing Cheng, John Abraham, Zeke Hausfather, Kevin E. Trenberth. Science 11 Jan 2019: Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 128–129.
  3. “Tipping Points and Climate Change: Metaphor Between Science and the Media.” Journal Environmental Communication. Volume 12, 2018 — Issue 5. Sandra van der Hel et al.
  4. “Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth.” Bromwich, D., Nicolas, J., Monaghan, A. et al. Nature Geosci 6, 139–145 (2013).
  5. “West Antarctic ice loss influenced by internal climate variability and anthropogenic forcing.” Holland, P.R., Bracegirdle, T.J., Dutrieux, P. et al. Nat. Geosci. 12, 718–724 (2019)
  6. “Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017.” Shepherd, A., Ivins, E., Rignot, E. et al. Nature 558, 219–222 (2018).
  7. “The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets under 1.5°C global warming.” Pattyn, F., et al. Nature Clim Change 8, 1053–1061 (2018).
  8. “Trends in Antarctic Ice Sheet Elevation and Mass.” Andrew Shepherd, et al. Geophysical Research Letters. 16 May 2019.
  9. “Stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet in a warming world.” Joughin, I., Alley, R. Nature Geosci 4, 506–513 (2011).
  10. “Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin.” Johannes Feldmann et al. PNAS November 17, 2015 112 (46) 14191–14196; November 2, 2015.
  11. The Amazon used to be a hedge against climate change. Those days may be over.” Oct. 2, 2018. pri.org
  12. Fires in the Brazilian Amazon in October 2020 were more than double those in October 2019. “Amazon fires: Year-on-year numbers doubled in October.” BBC News.
  13. “Amazon Tipping Point.” Thomas E. Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre. Science Advances 21 Feb 2018
  14. See also: “Amazon rainforest close to irreversible tipping point.”
  15. “Regime shifts occur disproportionately faster in larger ecosystems.” Cooper, G.S., Willcock, S. & Dearing, J.A. Nat Commun 11, 1175 (2020).
  16. “Amazon tipping point: Last chance for action.” Thomas E. Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre. Science Advances 20 Dec 2019
  17. “Anomalously weak Labrador Sea convection and Atlantic overturning during the past 150 years.” Thornalley, D.J.R., et al. Nature 556, 227–230 (2018).
  18. Chapter 6: Extremes, Abrupt Changes and Managing Risks (PDF). IPCC (Report). Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). September 25, 2019
  19. “Shifts in national land use and food production in Great Britain after a climate tipping point.” Ritchie, P.D.L., Smith, G.S., Davis, K.J. et al. Nat Food 1, 76–83 (2020).
  20. “Risk of multiple interacting tipping points should encourage rapid CO2 emission reduction.” Cai, Y., Lenton, T. & Lontzek, T. Nature Clim Change 6, 520–525 (2016).
  21. “Permafrost and the Global Carbon Cycle.”
  22. “The Arctic is burning and Greenland is melting, thanks to record heat.” Carolyn Gramling. Science News. Aug 2, 2019.
  23. “Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback”. Nature. 520 (7546): 171–179. Schuur, E.A.G.; et al. (2015)
  24. IPCC. Fifth Assessment Report (2013)
  25. “Shrinking of Greenland’s glaciers began accelerating in 2000, research finds.”
  26. “Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2018.” Shepherd, A., Ivins, E., Rignot, E. et al. Nature 579, 233–239 (2020).
  27. “Global estimates of boreal forest carbon stocks and flux.” Corey J.A.Bradshaw. Global and Planetary Change. Volume 128, May 2015, Pages 24–30.
  28. “Primer on Forest Carbon.”
  29. “Sensitivity of Siberian larch forests to climate change.” Shuman, Jacquelyn & Shugart, Herman & O’Halloran, Thomas. (2011). Global Change Biology. 17. 2370–2384.
  30. “Warmer Winter Ground Temperatures Trigger Rapid Growth of Dahurian Larch in the Permafrost Forests of Northeast China.” Xianliang Zhang et al. JGR Biogeosciences. 12 March 2019 []
  31. “Warmer, Drier Climate Could Transform Alaskan Forests.”
  32. “Nine tipping points that could be triggered by climate change.”
  33. “The Biosphere Under Potential Paris Outcomes.” Sebastian Ostberg et al. January 2018.
  34. “Corals and Coral Reefs.” Smithsonian.
  35. Hughes, T.P., Kerry, J.T., Baird, A.H. et al. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages. Nature 556, 492–496 (2018).
  36. Holbrook, S., Schmitt, R., Adam, T. et al. Coral Reef Resilience, Tipping Points and the Strength of Herbivory. Sci Rep 6, 35817 (2016).
  37. “Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.” Graham, N., Jennings, S., MacNeil, M. et al. Nature 518, 94–97 (2015).
  38. “Differential climate impacts for policy-relevant limits to global warming: the case of 1.5°C and 2°C.” Carl-Friedrich Schleussner et al. Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 327–351, 2016.
  39. IPCC Special Report on Oceans. Summary for Policymakers. FAQ Chapter 5.1: How is life in the sea affected by climate change?
  40. “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.” Will Steffen et al. PNAS August 14, 2018 115 (33) 8252–8259; first published August 6, 2018

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I work in marketing by day — and pen my thoughts on climate change by night.

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Karina Collins

Karina Collins

I work in marketing by day — and pen my thoughts on climate change by night.

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