Risks of climate tipping points and consequences of Europe


Channel: Online Lecture Series: 1.5 °C global warming by 2030? Consequences | risk reduction | adaption


Lecture 4: Tuesday | 22th June 2021 | 18:30 – 19:30 (CEST)

Introduction: Prof. Dr. Rima Mickevičienė, EU CONEXUS - Klaipeda University, Lithuania
Title: „Risks of climate tipping points and consequences for Europe“
Speaker: Jonathan F. Donges, Co-Leader PIK FutureLab on Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene, The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam, Germany


Tipping elements in the Earth's climate system are continental-scale subsystems that are characterized by a nonlinear threshold behavior. These include biosphere components (e.g. the Amazon rainforest and coral reefs), cryosphere components (e.g. the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets) and large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulations (e.g. the thermohaline circulation, ENSO and Indian summer monsoon). Once operating near a threshold or tipping point that may be approached due to anthropogenic climate change, these components can transgress into a qualitatively different state by small external perturbations. The large-scale environmental consequences could impact the livelihoods of millions of people.

In this lecture, Dr Jonathan Donges reports on recent research on modelling individual tipping elements such as the Antarctic Ice Sheet, reinforcing (positive) feedbacks on anthropogenic global warming mediated by cryospheric tipping elements, interactions between climate tipping elements, the risk for resulting tipping cascades and possible consequences for Europe. Finally, he will present work on the potentials for positive social tipping dynamics that could help to achieve the rapid decarbonization of the world’s social-economic systems needed to stabilize the Earth’s climate in line with the Paris climate agreement.