Joint Seminar: Past abrupt changes, tipping points and cascading impacts in the Earth system

The geological record shows that abrupt changes in the Earth system can occur on timescales short enough to challenge the capacity of human societies to adapt to environmental pressures. In many cases, abrupt changes arise from slow changes in one component of the Earth system that eventually pass a critical threshold, or tipping point, after which impacts cascade through coupled climate-ecological-social systems. Abrupt changes are rare events and their chance to occur increases with the length of observations. The geological record provides the only long-term information we have on the conditions and processes that can drive physical, ecological, and social systems into new states or organizational structures, which may be irreversible within human time frames. In this study by Future Earth AIMES and PAGES projects, well-documented abrupt changes of the past 30 thousand years are used to illustrate how their impacts cascade through the Earth System. We review useful indicators of upcoming abrupt changes, or early warning signals, and provide a perspective on the contributions of paleoclimate science to the understanding of abrupt changes in the Earth system.




15:15 h


Virtual Seminar


Victor Brovkin, MPI-M & CEN


Diego Jiménez-de-la-Cuesta Otero

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