Tipping Elements in the Earth System


AIMES, 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) are organizing a discussion series that aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. The discussion series is intended to support 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). The primary objective is to create an international science platform for the study of climatic, ecological and social tipping elements and their interactions in the Earth system.


Objectives and Goals

  • Facilitate and coordinate synthesis and review activities and publications on the risks imposed by climate and ecological tipping elements and their potentially cascading interactions, early warning signals and intervention/management options, as well as on the opportunities offered by societal tipping elements and their interactions for sustainability transformation.
  • Identify corresponding research needs.
  • Convene workshops and other activities around these topics.
  • Serve as a science-based clearing house for these topics for research and policy communities.

Watch the First Episode of the Series

If you are interested to join or be kept up-to-date on the planned Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project, click the link below.

Organizing Committee

Govindasamy Bala

Indian Institute of Science, India

AIMES, Earth Commission

Victor Brovkin

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany


Jonathan Donges

Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, Germany


Gabi Hegerl

University of Edinburgh, UK


Tim Lenton

University of Exeter, UK

AIMES, Earth Commission

Nebojsa Nakicenovic

IIASA, Austria

Earth Commission

Steven Sherwood

Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), University of New South Wales, Australia


Ricarda Winkelmann

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

Earth Commission

Caroline Zimm

IIASA, Austria

Earth Commission

News and Events

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...

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...

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

This event will focus on the ice sheets:
Introduction and moderation – Heiko Goelzer and Hannah Liddy (5min)
Recent Updates on Ice Sheet Loss (tbc) – Ricarda Winkelmann (20min)
Climate and sea level impacts of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet loss (tbc) – Sophie Nowicki (20min)

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

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)

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

Register for the discussion series on ‘Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Abrupt Changes in the Earth System.’ This first session will provide an overview of tipping elements and extreme events in the climate system with talks by Tim Lenton and Sonia Seneviratne followed by a discussion session.

Workshop: Remote Sensing of Tipping Points in the Climate System

Hosted by the International Space Science Institute and convened by ESA Climate Office and the Future Earth AIMES project, a workshop held 26-29 January 2021 brought modelers and the remote-sensing community together to discuss how Earth observations can contribute to our understanding of tipping elements in the climate system and help with early warning of change.

Workshop: Abrupt changes, thresholds, and tipping points in Earth history and future implications

AIMES and PAGES organized a workshop at MPI-M to summarize and evaluate evidence on non-linear Earth System dynamics in recent geological history, and discuss how best to acquire, analyze and interpret such data to understand the risk of future abrupt transitions.