Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Earth Syst. Dynam., 13, 1641–1665, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-13-1641-2022
Earth Syst. Dynam., 13, 1641–1665, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-13-1641-2022
Research article
23 Nov 2022
Research article | 23 Nov 2022

Emit now, mitigate later? Earth system reversibility under overshoots of different magnitudes and durations

Jörg Schwinger et al.

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Cited articles

Boucher, O., Halloran, P. R., Burke, E. J., Doutriaux-Boucher, M., Jones, C. D., Lowe, J., Ringer, M. A., Robertson, E., and Wu, P.: Reversibility in an Earth System model in response to CO2 concentration changes, Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 024013, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024013, 2012. 
Bouttes, N., Gregory, J. M., and Lowe, J. A.: The Reversibility of Sea Level Rise, J. Climate, 26, 2502–2513, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00285.1, 2013. 
Cabré, A., Marinov, I., Bernardello, R., and Bianchi, D.: Oxygen minimum zones in the tropical Pacific across CMIP5 models: mean state differences and climate change trends, Biogeosciences, 12, 5429–5454, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-5429-2015, 2015. 
Cao, L. and Caldeira, K.: Atmospheric carbon dioxide removal: long-term consequences and commitment, Environ. Res. Lett., 5, 024011, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/024011, 2010. 
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Short summary
We test whether climate change can be partially reversed if CO2 is removed from the atmosphere to compensate for too large past and near-term emissions by using idealized model simulations of overshoot pathways. On a timescale of 100 years, we find a high degree of reversibility if the overshoot size remains small, and we do not find tipping points even for intense overshoots. We caution that current Earth system models are most likely not able to skilfully model tipping points in ecosystems.
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