Earth science

  • politicians, economists and evensome natural scientists have tended
    to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of
    the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes. Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.

  • Timothy M. Lenton is director of the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Uk



    Copyright: © 2020 Springer Nature Limited. All rights reserved.

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