Co-Conveners: Ricarda Winkelmann, Jonathan Donges,
Victor Brovkin, Henk A. Dijkstra, Timothy Lenton
Tipping elements in the Earth's climate system are
continental-scale subsystems that are characterized by a threshold
behavior. It has been suggested that these include biosphere
components (e.g. the Amazon rainforest and coral reefs),
cryosphere components (e.g. the Greenland and Antarctic ice
sheets) and large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulations (e.g.
the thermohaline circulation, ENSO and Indian summer monsoon).
Once operating near a threshold or tipping point, these components
can transgress into a qualitatively different state by small
external perturbations. The large-scale environmental consequences
could impact the livelihoods of millions of people. In this session, we aim to bring together
experts presenting and discussing the state-of-the-art research on
tipping elements in the Earth's climate system, both in empirical
data and numerical modelling of past, present and future climate.
Among other topics, issues to be addressed in this session include
critical thresholds for specific tipping elements, typical time
scales of tipping, interactions and feedbacks between tipping
elements, the potential for tipping cascades as well as
environmental and socio-economic impacts of tipping.