Archive for ‘Tipping Points’

World Bank report warns of looming Latin American climate tipping points

Monday, February 15th, 2010

World Bank report “Low Carbon, High Growth: Latin American Responses to Climate Change,” focuses on four climate impacts of special concern: the warming and eventual disabling of mountain ecosystems in the Andes; the bleaching of coral reefs leading to an anticipated total collapse of the coral biome in the Caribbean basin; the damage to vast stretches of wetlands and associated coastal systems in the Gulf of Mexico; and the risk of forest dieback in the Amazon basin. Estimates suggest that losses from hurricane damage along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico “could increase tenfold from 2020 to 2025.” In Central America and the Caribbean, losses will triple or quadruple, respectively, in the same period. In Colombia, the worst-case scenario could see Colombian farm production suffer an almost total loss of 94% as a result of temperature rises from 2.5 to 5 degrees Celsius and a 10% variation in annual rainfalls. In Peru, the glaciers may disappear within 20 years.

Source: Climate Tipping Point Near Warn UN, World Bank

Date: 23 February 2009

Source: Low Carbon, High Growth – Latin American Responses to Climate Change

Date: 2009

Parts of Amazon forest very close to tipping point

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The Amazon forest is very close to a tipping point. The Mato Grosso region, an area more than twice the size of California in the southern Amazon, has already seen 17% of the region’s forest cleared. A study by Federal University of Viçosa Brazil, simulated that with 20% deforestation –  an increase of just 3% from current levels of deforestation – northern Mato Grosso would not be able to recover even after 50 years. It would turn into a dry, bare savannah. The results of the study could even be an underestimate as the study did not take into consideration the effects of climate change.

Source: Parts of Amazon close to tipping point

Date: 5 March 2009

A variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under human induced climate change. The nine top tipping elements are listed

Monday, February 15th, 2010

“Society must not be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change,” says Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia. “Our findings suggest that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under human-induced climate change. The greatest threats are tipping of the Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and at least five other elements could surprise us by exhibiting a nearby tipping point.”

The nine tipping elements, the time it will take them to undergo a major transition, and their major effect:

  • Melting of Arctic sea-ice (approx 10 years; amplified warming, ecosystem change)
  • Decay of the Greenland ice sheet (more than 300 years; sea level rise of 2-7 meters)
  • Collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (more than 300 years; sea level rise of 5 meters)
  • Collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (approx 100 years; regional cooling)
  • Increase in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (approx 100 years; drough in Southeast Asia and other places)
  • Collapse of the Indian summer monsoon (approx 1 year; drought)
  • Greening of the Sahara/Sahel and disruption of the West African monsoon (approx 10 years)
  • Dieback of the Amazon rainforest (approx 50 years; biodiversit loss, decreased rainfall)
  • Dieback of the Boreal Forest (approx 50 years)

Further tipping points:

  • Antarctic Bottom Water (100 years)
  • Tundra (100 years; amplified warming)
  • Permafrost (100 years; CH4 and CO2 release)
  • Marine methane hydrates (amplified global warming)
  • Ocean anoxia (lack of oxygen) (10,000 years; marine mass extinction)
  • Arctic zone (1 year; increased UV at surface)

Source: Climate change tipping points outlined –

Date: 5 February 2008

Source: Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Date: November 2007

Results 21-23 of overall 23
REPORTS see all

Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change


Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers


Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis


Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010


Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report


Livestock's Climate Impact


Livestock & Sustainable Food


Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change


The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)


Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)



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