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  Interacting tipping elements increase risk of climate domino effects under global warming

Wunderling, N., Donges, J. F., Kurths, J., Winkelmann, R. (2021): Interacting tipping elements increase risk of climate domino effects under global warming. - Earth System Dynamics, 12, 2, 601-619.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-12-601-2021

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Item Permalink: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25506 Version Permalink: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25506_5
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Wunderling, Nico1, Author              
Donges, Jonathan Friedemann1, Author              
Kurths, Jürgen1, Author              
Winkelmann, Ricarda1, Author              
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1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, ou_persistent13              

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 Abstract: There exists a range of subsystems in the climate system exhibiting threshold behaviour which could be triggered under global warming within this century resulting in severe consequences for biosphere and human societies. While their individual tipping thresholds are fairly well understood, it is of yet unclear how their interactions might impact the overall stability of the Earth's climate system. This cannot be studied yet with state-of-the-art Earth system models due to computational constraints as well as missing and uncertain process representations of some tipping elements. Here, we explicitly study the effects of known physical interactions between the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, the El-Nino Southern Oscillation and the Amazon rainforest using a conceptual network approach. We analyse the risk of domino effects being triggered by each of the individual tipping elements under global warming in equilibrium experiments, propagating uncertainties in critical temperature thresholds and interaction strengths via a Monte-Carlo approach. Overall, we find that the interactions tend to destabilise the network. Furthermore, our analysis reveals the qualitative role of each of the five tipping elements showing that the polar ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica are oftentimes the initiators of tipping cascades, while the AMOC acts as a mediator, transmitting cascades. This implies that the ice sheets, which are already at risk of transgressing their temperature thresholds within the Paris range of 1.5 to 2 °C, are of particular importance for the stability of the climate system as a whole.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-04-032021-04-032021-06-03
 Publication Status: Finally published
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.5194/esd-12-601-2021
MDB-ID: yes - 3182
PIKDOMAIN: RD1 - Earth System Analysis
PIKDOMAIN: RD4 - Complexity Science
Organisational keyword: RD1 - Earth System Analysis
Organisational keyword: RD4 - Complexity Science
Organisational keyword: FutureLab - Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene
Research topic keyword: Complex Networks
Research topic keyword: Nonlinear Dynamics
Research topic keyword: Tipping Elements
Regional keyword: Global
Model / method: Open Source Software
Model / method: Nonlinear Data Analysis
OATYPE: Gold Open Access
 Degree: -

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Title: Earth System Dynamics
Source Genre: Journal, SCI, Scopus, p3, oa
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 (2) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 601 - 619 Identifier: CoNE: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/cone/journals/resource/1402282
Publisher: Copernicus