Tipping Elements in the Earth System

Overview

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.

Upcoming events

Discussion Series: Social tipping for positive change. 12 May 2022, 10:30-12:00 CEST.

Discussion Series: Paleo insights on climate impacts and societal collapse. 3 June, 2022, 5:30-7:00 CEST.

Governing tipping elements in the Earth system as the new global commons of the Anthropocene. 11-12 July 2022, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany.

Tipping Points from climate crisis to positive transformation. 12-14 September 2022, Exeter University. Organized by Global Systems Institute (GSI), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), and Earth Commission.

Tipping Points and Understanding Earth Observation data needs for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project. 10-14 October 2022, Ber, Switzerland. Organized by the International Space Science Institute

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

The Tipping Points in the Earth System working group’s organizing committee is comprised of members of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES), Past Global Changes (PAGES), and the Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). One outcome for the WCRP is the Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity, which provided results such as:

  • Sufficient understanding of the physical processes underlying tipping points and high-impact events to reliably quantify risks
  • Earth System Models that can credibly incorporate tail risks, compound extremes, uncertain shocks, and tipping elements including those arising from feedbacks between multiple components of the Earth system
  • Strategies to accurately and transparently incorporate low probability/high impact possibilities into projections, risk analysis, and adaptation planning. Collaboration with the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) project and others for expertise on scenarios and planning.

PAGES facilitated the activity, “Thresholds, tipping points and multiple equilibria in the Earth System.” The activity synthesized the latest insights into the existence (or lack thereof) of multiple equilibria in components of the Earth system (such as ocean circulation, ice sheets, or marine and terrestrial ecosystems). Using paleo-evidence, as well as (transient) climate modeling, the PAGES community developed strategies to detect and diagnose state changes and to assess the risk of them happening in the future. These projects and organizations have grouped together to launch the discussion series (shown above) to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system. Click here if you are interested to join or be kept up-to-date on the planned Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip).

Govindasamy Bala

Indian Institute of Science, India

AIMES, Earth Commission

Victor Brovkin

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany

AIMES

Jonathan Donges

Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, Germany

AIMES

Gabi Hegerl

University of Edinburgh, UK

WCRP

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

WCRP

Ricarda Winkelmann

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

Earth Commission

Caroline Zimm

IIASA, Austria

Earth Commission

News and Events

Tipping Points and Understanding Earth Observation data needs for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project

Tipping Points and Understanding Earth Observation data needs for a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project The International Space Science Institute is hosting a workshop on 10-14 October 2022 in Bern, Switzerland. Workshops are selected by the ISSI Directors...

Governing tipping elements in the Earth system as the new global commons of the Anthropocene

Governing tipping elements in the Earth system as the new global commons of the Anthropocene This two-day cross-disciplinary in-person workshop will be jointly hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and the Institute for Advanced...

https://aimesproject.org/tipping-elements-working-group/

Tipping Points - from climate crisis to positive transformation The University of Exeter is hosting a ‘call to action’ to form an alliance to improve warnings of the proximity of catastrophic climate tipping points and to accelerate positive tipping points to avert...

Discussion Series: Paleoclimate Insights on Societal Collapse

Discussion Series: Paleoclimate Insights on Societal Collapse Location: VirtualDates: 3 June 2022, 17:30-19:00 CESTRegister: https://tipping-series-positive-paleo-collaps.confetti.events/ Join AIMES, Earth Commission, Future Earth and WCRP for the Amazon focused...

Discussion Series: Tipping Towards Positive Social Change

Discussion Series: Tipping Towards Positive Social Change Location: VirtualDates: 12 May 2022, 10:30 CESTRegister: https://tipping-series-positive-social-tipping.confetti.events/ Join AIMES, Earth Commission, Future Earth and WCRP for the Amazon focused webinar in a...

Discussion Series: Human and Earth Systems Interlinkages

Discussion Series: Human and Earth Systems Interlinkages Location: VirtualDates: 7 April 2022, 16:30 CESTRegister:https://tipping-series-interlinkages.confetti.events/ Join AIMES, the Earth Commission, Future Earth, and WCRP Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity...

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in Monsoon Systems

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in Monsoon Systems Location: VirtualDates: 9 March 2022, 15:30 - 17:00 CESTRegister: www.tipping-series-monsoon.confetti.events   About this event This event is part of a series of online...

Discussion Series: Tipping Elements, Irreversibility, and Change in Oceans

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in Oceans Location: VirtualDates: 11 February 2022, 13:30 - 15:00 CESTRegister: www.tipping-series-ocean.confetti.events About this event This event is part of a series of online discussions aims...

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

Discussion Series: Tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt change in Ice Sheets Location: VirtualDates: 25 January 2022, 16:00-17:30 CET About this event This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt...

Tipping Elements, Irreversibility and Abrupt Change Permafrost

Tipping Elements, Irreversibility and Abrupt Change: Permafrost Location: VirtualDate: 17 January 2022, 16:00 - 17:30 CET About this event This discussion series aims to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth...