Articles | Volume 12, issue 3
Research article
28 Jul 2021
Research article |  | 28 Jul 2021

Abrupt climate change as a rate-dependent cascading tipping point

Johannes Lohmann, Daniele Castellana, Peter D. Ditlevsen, and Henk A. Dijkstra

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Cited articles

Ashwin, P., Wieczorek, S., Vitolo, R., and Cox, P.: Tipping points in open systems: bifurcation, noise-induced and rate-dependent examples in the climate system, Philos. T. R. Soc. A, 370, 1166–1184, 2012. a
Bevis, M., Harig, C., Khan, S. A., Brown, A., Simons, F. J., Willis, M., Fettweis, X., van den Broeke, M. R., Madsen, F. B., Kendrick, E., Caccamise II, D. J., van Dam, T., Knudsen, P., and Nylen, T.: Accelerating changes in ice mass within Greenland, and the ice sheet's sensitivity to atmospheric forcing, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 116, 1934–1939, 2019. a
Boers, N.: Early-warning signals for Dansgaard-Oeschger events in a high-resolution ice core record, Nat. Commun., 9, 2556,, 2018. a
Boers, N., Ghil, M., and Rousseau, D.-D.: Ocean circulation, ice shelf, and sea ice interactions explain Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 115, E11005,, 2018. a
Cai, Y., Lenton, T. M., and Lontzek, T. S.: Risk of multiple interacting tipping points should encourage rapid CO2 emission reduction, Nat. Clim. Change, 6, 520–525, 2016. a
Short summary
Tipping of one climate subsystem could trigger a cascade of subsequent tipping points and even global-scale climate tipping. Sequential shifts of atmosphere, sea ice and ocean have been recorded in proxy archives of past climate change. Based on this we propose a conceptual model for abrupt climate changes of the last glacial. Here, rate-induced tipping enables tipping cascades in systems with relatively weak coupling. An early warning signal is proposed that may detect such a tipping.
Final-revised paper