Articles | Volume 14, issue 3
 | Highlight paper
14 Jun 2023
Review | Highlight paper |  | 14 Jun 2023

Rate-induced tipping in natural and human systems

Paul D. L. Ritchie, Hassan Alkhayuon, Peter M. Cox, and Sebastian Wieczorek


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Chief editor
Tipping points have potentially major detrimental impacts on natural and human systems. This study highlights how the rate of change in external conditions is arguably one of the key tipping mechanisms for both natural and human systems in the human-dominated anthropocene. This notion of rate-induced tipping -- namely an instability that occurs when external conditions vary faster than some critical rate -- will likely become an increasingly important topic of scientific research in the coming years.
Short summary
Complex systems can undergo abrupt changes or tipping points when external forcing crosses a critical level and are of increasing concern because of their severe impacts. However, tipping points can also occur when the external forcing changes too quickly without crossing any critical levels, which is very relevant for Earth’s systems and contemporary climate. We give an intuitive explanation of such rate-induced tipping and provide illustrative examples from natural and human systems.
Final-revised paper