EGU Session: Tipping points, domino effects and resilience in the Earth system Abstract Submission

EGU Session: Tipping points, domino effects and resilience in the Earth system Abstract Submission

EGU Abstract Submission: Tipping points, domino effects and resilience in the Earth system

Co-organized by CR7/NP8/OS1

Convener: Ricarda Winkelmann | Co-conveners: Jonathan Donges, Victor Brovkin, Sarah Cornell, Timothy Lenton

In this session we invite contributions on all topics relating to tipping points in the Earth system, positive (social) tipping, as well as their interaction and domino effects. We are particularly interested in various methodological approaches, from Earth system modelling to conceptual modelling and data analysis of nonlinearities, tipping points and abrupt shifts in the Earth system. Read more about it here.

With rising anthropogenic pressures, there is an increasing risk we might be hitting the ceiling of some of the self-regulating feedbacks of the Earth System, and cross tipping points which could trigger large-scale and partly irreversible impacts on the environment, and impact the livelihood of millions of people. Potential domino effects or tipping cascades could arise due to the interactions between these tipping elements and lead to a further decline of Earth resilience. At the same time, there is growing evidence supporting the potential of positive (social) tipping points that could propel rapid decarbonization and transformative change towards global sustainability.

Deadlines & milestones (selection)
Abstract submission deadline: 12 January 2022, 13:00 CET
Travel Support application deadline: 1 December 2021

Expression of Interest: Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project

Expression of Interest: Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project

Expression of Interest: Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project

The Earth Commission’s Working Group 1 (Earth and Human Systems Modelling Intercomparison Project), Future Earth’s global research project Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) and the Safe Landing Climates Light House Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP) have launched a discussion series to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in Ice Sheets

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in Ice Sheets

Discussion Series:

Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in Ice Sheets

Location: Virtual
Dates: POSTPONED DUE TO ILLNESS. We have paused registrations and will open them again once we have a new date.
Register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tipping-elements-discussion-series-ice-sheets-tickets-195061884347

About this event

This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in the treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

This discussion series is a joint activity of the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) global research project of Future Earth, the Earth Commission Working Group 1 Earth and Human Systems Intercomparison Modelling Project (EHSMIP) under the Global Commons Alliance and the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

This event will focus on the ice sheets:

  • Introduction and moderation – Heiko Goelzer and Hannah Liddy (10min)
  • Projections from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets: insights from IPCC AR6 – Sophie Nowicki (20min)
  • Beyond gradual change: Tipping points in Greenland and Antarctica – Ricarda Winkelmann (20min)
  • Questions and discussion (20min)

The final 20 minutes is reserved for informal discussions on the research agenda and the development of a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). The event will be recorded.

This event is free of charge, but please register. The event will be recorded.

Speaker Information

Sophie Nowicki, University of Buffalo
Dr. Sophie Nowicki is an Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Geology and RENEW Faculty. Her research focusses on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, their connections to the Earth’s climate system and their impact on sea level. Her work is aligned with the RENEW Climate Change and Socioeconomic Impacts focus areas.

Through applied mathematics, remote sensing observations and numerical modeling, her work spans the spectrum of local processes, such as understanding the physics of ice sheet grounding lines, or the impact of bedrock topography on ice dynamics, to that of large-scale continental ice sheet models and their use in projections of sea level change. As sea level projections from ice sheet models require knowledge of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that drive ice sheet evolution, Dr. Nowicki is also interested in how to improve climate models in the polar regions, as well as the use of multiple models for projections.

Prior to joining UB, Dr. Nowicki was a Research Scientist and Deputy Chief for the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory (Code 615) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. While at NASA Goddard, Sophie was a science team member for Operation IceBridge, and co-lead the SeaRISE (Sea-Level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution), an international effort that investigated the sensitivity of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to external environmental forcings. She led many competed efforts such as an effort to couple ice sheet models to the two Goddard climate models (i.e., GEOS-5 and ModelE), and an effort that investigated the feedbacks, processes and impacts of contemporary changes in the Arctic using satellite observations, ice sheet and climate models.

Dr. Nowicki is a member of the NASA Sea Level Change Team (N-SLCT), a member of the SEARCH Land Ice Action Team (LIAT), an executive committee member for the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise phase 2 (IMBIE2), a member of the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) and co-leads the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6). She is the Division Head for Ice Sheets for the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and a member of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts Chand Challenge. She was invited to be a lead author on the IPCC 6th Assessment Report Chapter on “Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change”.

Dr. Nowicki holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Glaciology from University College London (UK), an MSc in Remote Sensing and Image Processing and a bachelor degree in Geophysics from The University of Edinburgh (UK). Over her time as a scientist, Dr. Nowicki has received numerous awards including that of NASA Cryospheric Sciences Most Valuable Player, awards for Outstanding Publications and Scientific Achievements. She is most proud of her mentoring award (the Robert Goddard Honor Award for Mentoring) which recognizes not only her work with postdocs and young scientists, but also the amazing work that they did.

Ricarda Winkelmann, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Prof. Winkelmann is a professor at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and University of Potsdam. She is Co-Chair of Working Group 1 of the Earth Commission and leads the TIP-MIP intercomparison project (that we will hear more about later). Trained as a mathematician and theoretical physicist in Germany and the United States, Winkelmann received her PhD with distinction from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and was a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford before returning to Germany as professor of Climate System Analysis. Ricarda has received numerous awards for her work, including being named Young Scientist of the Year by Academics and ZEIT Publishing Group. Her research at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research focuses on ice-dynamics in Greenland and Antarctica, future sea-level rise and tipping elements in the Earth System.

Partners

Funders

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in the Amazon

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in the Amazon

 

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and change in the Amazon

Location: Virtual
Dates: 29 November 2021, 17:00 – 18:30 CEST
Register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tipping-elements-discussion-series-amazon-tickets-181845393467

 

This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in the treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

This discussion series is a joint activity of the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) global research project of Future Earth, the Earth Commission Working Group 1 Earth and Human Systems Intercomparison Modelling Project (EHSMIP) under the Global Commons Alliance and the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

This event will focus on the Amazon:

  • Introduction and moderation – Tim Lenton and Patricia Pinho (5min)
  • Is the Amazon Rainforest near a Tipping Point? – Carlos Nobre (20min)
  • Amazon Forest dieback in CMIP6 Earth System Models – Peter Cox (20min)
  • Questions and discussion (20min)

The final 25 minutes is reserved for informal discussions on the research agenda and the development of a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). The event will be recorded.

This event is free of charge, but please register.

 

Speaker Information

Professor Carlos. A. Nobre, University of Sao Paulo

Carlos A. Nobre is an Earth System scientist from Brazil. He graduated in Electronics Engineering from the Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA), Brazil, in 1974 and obtained a PhD in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, in 1983. He dedicated his scientific carrier mostly to Amazonian and climate science at Brazil’s National Institutes of Amazonian Research (INPA) and Space Research (INPE). He proposed almost 30 years ago the hypothesis of Amazon ‘savannization’ in response to deforestation. He was Program Scientist of the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA). He is a former National Secretary of R&D of Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil and former President of the Federal Agency for Post-Graduate Education (CAPES). He is foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences, member of the Brazilian Academy of Science and of the World Academy of Science. He was one of the authors of IPCC AR4 awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is presently a senior researcher with the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo.

Peter Cox, University of Exeter

Professor of Climate System Dynamics in Mathematics at the University of Exeter (since 2006), having previously worked at the Met Office-Hadley Centre (1990-2004) and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (2004-2006). A lead-author on the last three Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4, AR5, AR6), and a highly-cited author in Geosciences.

 

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in the Earth system

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in the Earth system

Discussion Series:

Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in the Earth system

Location: Virtual
Dates: 20 September 2021, 12:00 – 13:30 CEST
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tipping-elements-irreversibility-and-abrupt-change-in-the-earth-system-tickets-169975137211

This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. It supports efforts to increase consistency in the treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments and ideas for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

This discussion series is a joint activity of the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) global research project of Future Earth, the Earth Commission Working Group 1 Earth and Human Systems Intercomparison Modelling Project (EHSMIP) under the Global Commons Alliance and the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

The first event in the series provides an overall introduction. The next discussions will then dive into one Earth system tipping element in detail, i.e., Amazon rainforest, ice sheets. The events (60-90 minutes each) will be held monthly and are open to the public.

  • Introduction and objectives of the webinar series – Steven Sherwood and Ricarda Winkelmann (tbc) (5 mins)
  • An update on tipping elements in the climate system – Tim Lenton (20 mins)
  • Extreme events in a changing climate. Insights from IPCC AR6 (tbc) – Sonia Seneviratne (20 mins)
  • Questions and discussion (20 mins)

The final 25 minutes is reserved for informal discussions on the research agenda and the development of a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). The event will be recorded.

This event is free of charge, but please register.

Watch it now

Workshop: Remote Sensing of Tipping Points in the Climate System

Workshop: Remote Sensing of Tipping Points in the Climate System

Remote Sensing of Tipping Points in the Climate System

Location: Virtual
Dates: January 26-29, 2021
Contact: Sophie Hebden, ESA/ECSAT, United Kingdom; Anny Cazenave, ISSI Bern, Switzerland; Susanne Mecklenburg, ESA/ECSAT, Italy; Lorena Moreira, ISSI Bern, Switzerland; Michael Rast, ESA/ESRIN, Italy 

Workshop Overview

The two most recent IPCC Special Reports [1],[2], indicate that climate tipping points – abrupt and irreversible changes in the Earth system – are a risk even at lower global average temperatures. Examples include irreversible melting of Greenland and west Antarctica ice sheets, shutdown of the thermohaline ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, and carbon dioxide and methane release from permafrost melting. Some of these regime shifts could be exceeded between 1 and 2 degrees of warming. A particular threat is cascading tipping effects [3], where exceeding a tipping point in one system triggers abrupt and large-scale change in others. 

Since the threat of exceeding climate tipping points cannot be ruled out, they pose an existential threat to civilization and an important frontier for scientific effort: we need to reduce the uncertainties around their likelihood as well as the resilience of the Earth system [4]. Efforts must include developing climate models to capture a richer suite of couplings and feedbacks in the Earth system to anticipate changes and prioritize mitigation efforts. We must also improve our observational records of the most sensitive aspects of the climate system and find more efficient ways to use these observations. 

With this 2-3 day forum, we aim to focus on Earth observations, clarifying the satellite data requirements to better monitor the climate system’s resilience to tipping points, to constrain models and build on the ESA CCI programme as a foundation for a future abrupt change early warning system [5]. Workshop participants will contribute to a citable report that will provide input to and guide the development of future ESA climate activities. 

The meeting is jointly organized by the ESA Climate Office, International Space Science Institute, and the AIMES (Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System) global research project of Future Earth.

Scope

Research Questions To Drive The Agenda 

  • Satellite observation requirements for monitoring tipping elements in the Earth System, perturbing factors, and interactions.
  • Processing the data to show proximity to thresholds in the system.
  • Development of risk (and resilience) indicators, grouped by sphere into cryosphere, ocean and biosphere – and their interactions, and how they link into social responses and social tipping point risks.
  • For biosphere: recommendations for ecological indicators of abrupt change and response to disturbance: observation requirements by region/variable/resolutions to observe greening/browning, fire response, vegetation-atmosphere interactions, and drivers of extinction.
  • Cryosphere: prioritization and recommendations for indicators of abrupt change and the inclusion of cascading impacts in models.
  • Ocean: critical needs for observation of circulation changes, tipping points relating to ocean-atmosphere fluxes, clouds, and their cascading impacts: for example on hypopoxy and CH4 release.
  • System responses to human activity – recommendations for monitoring of tipping elements relating due to land and ocean management.
  • Recommendations for improving our understanding of uncertainties and risk relating to remote sensing of tipping elements, and model-data integration.
  • Improving our understanding of inter-connectedness of climate and human systems.
  • Recommendations for how to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for detecting tipping thresholds and ‘flickering’ in remote sensing data.
  • Research strategies for monitoring unobservable tipping elements through by defining emergent constraints.
  • Defining model-data integration requirements, processing and infrastructure.

Agenda

Full programme .pdf

Participants

Organizing Committee

  • Susanne Mecklenburg (ESA/ECSAT)
  • Sophie Hebden (ESA/ECSAT)
  • Anny Cazenave (ISSI)
  • Michael Rast (ESA/ESRIN)
  • Tim Lenton (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Victor Brovkin (MPI-M, Germany)
  • Philippe Ciais (LSCE, France)
  • Ricarda Winkelmann (PIK, Germany)

Forum Participants >>

Participants Bios >>

Workshop Product

Read the workshop report here.