Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Research article
 | Highlight paper
13 Apr 2016
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 13 Apr 2016

Early warning signals of tipping points in periodically forced systems

Mark S. Williamson, Sebastian Bathiany, and Timothy M. Lenton

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Cited articles

Armour, K. C., Eisenman, I., Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., McCusker, K. E., and Bitz, C. M.: The reversibility of sea ice loss in a state-of-the-art climate model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L16705,, 2011.
Bathiany, S., van der Bolt, B., Williamson, M. S., Lenton, T. M., Scheffer, M., van Nes, E., and Notz, D.: Trends in sea-ice variability on the way to an ice-free Arctic, The Cryosphere Discuss.,, in review, 2016.
Budyko, M. I.: The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth, Tellus, 21, 611–619, 1969.
Chapman, W. and National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds.): The Climate Data Guide: Walsh and Chapman Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice, retrieved from, available at:, 2015.
Short summary
We find early warnings of abrupt changes in complex dynamical systems such as the climate where the usual early warning indicators do not work. In particular, these are systems that are periodically forced, for example by the annual cycle of solar insolation. We show these indicators are good theoretically in a general setting then apply them to a specific system, that of the Arctic sea ice, which has been conjectured to be close to such a tipping point. We do not find evidence of it.
Final-revised paper