Tipping elements draw a crowd

More than 300 participants from academia, policymaking and the general public attended the first event in the new discussion series on tipping points, convened by the Earth Commission, AIMES at Future Earth and WMO/WCRP.

The webinar featured two expert presentations from Prof. Timothy Lenton, Exeter University and Earth Commissioner Prof. Sonia Seneviratne, ETH Zurich. Research on tipping elements in the climate system and insights from the recently launched IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 report on extreme events in a changing climate were presented.

Prof. Ricarda Winkelmann, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Earth Commissioner, and Prof. Steven Sherwood, University of New South Wales on behalf of WCRP introduced the idea of a Tipping Element Model Intercomparison Project (TipMip). Such a TipMip can support efforts to increase consistency in treatment of tipping elements in the scientific community, develop a research agenda, and design joint experiments.

A lively discussion on the research needs to advance the knowledge about tipping elements, irreversibility, and abrupt changes in the Earth system followed. Participants identified future research avenues and current knowledge gaps.

  • Expressions of interest for the TipMip can be submitted here.
  • A recording of the event is available here.
  • More information on the full series and its upcoming monthly events can be found here.

*Header image: Climate tipping elements that could cross this century due to human activities (from Lenton et. al., 2019, Nature) https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0