Climate tipping point interactions and cascades: A review


Climate tipping elements are large-scale subsystems of the Earth that may transgress critical thresholds (tipping points) under ongoing global warming, with substantial impacts on biosphere and human societies. Frequently studied examples of such tipping elements include the Greenland Ice Sheet, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, permafrost, monsoon systems, and the Amazon rainforest. While recent scientific efforts have improved our knowledge about individual tipping elements, the interactions between them are less well understood. Also, the potential of individual tipping events to induce additional tipping elsewhere, or stabilize other tipping elements is largely unknown. Here, we map out the current state of the literature on the interactions between climate tipping elements and review the influences between them. To do so, we gathered evidence from model simulations, observations and conceptual understanding, as well as archetypal examples of paleoclimate reconstructions where multi-component or spatially propagating transitions were potentially at play. Lastly, we identify crucial knowledge gaps in tipping element interactions and outline how future research could address those gaps.

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