Christmas Tipping Points or Just Cascading Feedbacks, Destabilizing Systems?


Cascading Feedbacks Destabilizing Our Climate System: 2 of 2 // Dec 23, 2018

One global truth: the only constant is change. In the case of the climate system, this change is massive far-reaching abrupt change, highly nonlinear, much faster than expected, highly exponential in many cases, full of unexpected surprises, leaving no part of Earth untouched. In this video (and next) I chat on a new study that makes a stab at:

  • a) identifying elements in the Earth system that are changing,
  • b) identifying drivers that cause these changes, and
  • c) identifying feedbacks and interconnections between changing elements and processes.


Ref:  Cascading regime shifts within and across scales:  Rocha, Peterson, Bodin, Levin.
Science 21 Dec 2018:  Vol. 362, Issue 6421, pp. 1379-1383, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7850.

Ref2:  Cascading regime shifts within and across scales, download PDF version, from BioRxiv, here

The potential for regime shifts and critical transitions in ecological and Earth systems, particularly in a changing climate, has received considerable attention. However, the possibility of interactions between such shifts is poorly understood. Rocha et al. used network analysis to explore whether critical transitions in ecosystems can be coupled with each other, even when far apart (see the Perspective by Scheffer and van Nes).

They report different types of potential cascading effects, including domino effects and hidden feedbacks, that can be prevalent in different systems. Such cascading effects can couple the dynamics of regime shifts in distant places, which suggests that the interactions between transitions should be borne in mind in future forecasts.

‘Abstract: Regime shifts are large, abrupt, and persistent critical transitions in the function and structure of ecosystems. Yet, it is unknown how these transitions will interact, whether the occurrence of one will increase the likelihood of another or simply correlate at distant places. We explored two types of cascading effects: Domino effects create one-way dependencies, whereas hidden feedbacks produce two-way interactions.

‘We compare them with the control case of driver sharing, which can induce correlations. Using 30 regime shifts described as networks, we show that 45% of regime shift pairwise combinations present at least one plausible structural interdependence. The likelihood of cascading effects depends on cross-scale interactions but differs for each type. Management of regime shifts should account for potential connections‘.
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Climate System Tipping Points from Cascading Feedbacks: 1 of 2 // Dec 21, 2018

One global truth: the only constant is change. Second video, continues from above.
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Apocalyptic Christmas // Dec 21, 2018

It’s beginning to look apocalyptic
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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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1 Response to Christmas Tipping Points or Just Cascading Feedbacks, Destabilizing Systems?

  1. Dale Lanan says:

    Time forward ~ Entropy rising
    Reversing this is next to P~1.
    But numbers don’t work like that.
    Not at end of year of Earth spin,,,
    Not at end of probability for fixing it as in the nature of Closed System debt based money on a planet type where poets and echo rings, where the wishes of children crash like waves vs shore..
    We have a duty and a chance to see if bringing the world to support Earth Biosphere Strong can be the stroke of the brush on a painting so pretty that G for generations of hope spring Eternal can sing, hit a high note at seeking harmonic resonance that can break the world out of its funk..
    to poetry said he,
    To numbers of $$ said the cattle rustler’s friends downstream of the ribbons of steel for the East.
    But I was sent to the tale of two cities where showdown was like a child’s wish to be true to Time


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