Better Understanding Climate Tipping Points and Their Threat
A major new study warns that continued rise of global average temperatures from emissions of man-made greenhouse gases is likely to result in sudden, dramatic, out of control changes to major geophysical elements of the Earth. The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identifies nine manners in which climate change could cross “tipping point” thresholds [ark | search] and lead to abrupt, non-linear ecosystem change.
Global warming crossing tipping points [ark] could trigger a runaway thaw of Greenland's ice sheet [search], dieback of Amazon rainforests [search], and failures of the Indian and West African Monsoons [search]. The report rejects complacency based upon smooth projections of global change, calling upon governments to note potential for small change to be amplified into massive, abrupt and potentially irreversible ecosystem failure. Though surrounded with uncertainty inherent in complex systems, the authors indicate some of these tipping points may be closer than thought.