Climate change tipping points may be too simple a concept, say researchers

Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy

Many of Earth’s complex systems ‘may be more resilient than currently thought’, in the words of the study. Makes a change from claims that various climate nasties lurk just round the corner if this or that is allowed to happen.
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We regularly hear warnings that climate change may lead to ‘tipping points’: irreversible situations where savanna can quickly change into desert, or the warm gulf stream current can simply stop flowing, says Phys.org.

These cautions often refer to spatial patterns as early-warning signals of tipping points. An international team of ecologists and mathematicians has studied these patterns and come to a surprising conclusion.

“Yes, we need to do everything we can to stop climate change,” the authors said in full agreement with the recent IPCC report. “But the Earth is much more resilient than previously thought. The concept of tipping points is too simple.”

The scientists have recently published their work in the journal Science.

The article builds on years of collaboration between a variety of research institutes in the Netherlands and abroad, especially between Utrecht University and Leiden University.

The researchers approached the idea of a tipping point within a spatial context. “The formation of spatial patterns in ecosystems, like the spontaneous formation of complex vegetation patterns, is often explained as an early-warning signal for a critical transition,” explains lead author Max Rietkerk, ecologist affiliated with Utrecht University.

“But these patterns actually appear to allow ecosystems to evade such tipping points.”

These findings are based on mathematical analyses of spatial models and new observations from real-world ecosystems.

Continued here.
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Study: Evasion of tipping in complex systems through spatial pattern formation

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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October 9, 2021 at 06:24AM

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