Quantifying climate tipping points and
their impacts

Safeguarding Earth systems stability by understanding and addressing climate tipping points
Why it matters
“Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity. They can trigger devastating domino effects, including the loss of whole ecosystems and capacity to grow staple crops, with societal impacts including mass displacement, political instability and financial collapse.”
TIM LENTON
University of Exeter
Why it matters
“The science on tipping points is far from done – it has barely begun – and much better models are needed to address the question of what warming level is critical for which tipping point.”
THOMAS STOCKER
University of Bern
Why it matters
“With every square kilometre of deforestation, every fraction of degree of global warming, we are raising the risk of a tipping point. Yet, it is incredibly simple to just stop deforestation. It is an absolutely unique ecosystem that we really can’t afford to lose.”
NIKLAS BOERS
Technical University of Munich
Why it matters
“Give me £1bn for modelling and I wouldn’t be able tell you what’s going to happen, but I would get a better grasp of the uncertainties and the range of plausible futures. Knowledge of this range would help us design climate-resilient infrastructure and usefully set the context for debates.”
David Stainforth
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Research priorities
& project scope

Explore Science Goals
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Better Understand Tipping Points and Improve Climate Models
The project will improve our understanding of tipping phenomena in the Earth system, including the representation of Tipping Elements in Earth System Models, as well as provide the theoretical basis for important concepts such as Early Warning Signals, resilience and rate-dependent tipping.
Model Climate and Ecosystem Tipping Elements
We evaluate how Tipping Elements are represented in advanced climate models by analysing polar ice sheets, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, and the Amazon rainforest in terms of their responses to critical forcing thresholds, rates, hysteresis, overshoot potential and interactions among them, with implications for tipping cascades.
Investigate Impacts of Tipping Points
Using dynamical and statistical/Machine Learning-based techniques we investigate the impacts of tipping events on the biosphere, including evaluating the impacts of Atlantic ocean circulation collapse and the dieback of the Amazon rainforest on extreme weather phenomena like heatwaves, cold spells, droughts, as well as on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Address Mitigation, Adaptation and Socioeconomic Costs
Leveraging bias-corrected storyline climate tipping scenarios to develop data-driven models for evaluating impacts on forestry and agriculture, wider society and economy and derive policy-relevant information on the potential for mitigation and adaptation.
Outreach, Communication, Dissemination and Management
We aim to improve public awareness of risks associated with tipping points through a comprehensive outreach and communication strategy. The project results will be shared with the general public, civil society and decision makers for efficient use and to maximise the scientific and societal impacts of our research.

When scientists from multiple disciplines join forces

More on ClimTip
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“It’s like a huge mosaic. Everyone knows what they can do best, so we exchange ideas intensively and bring everything together at the end.”
Niklas Boers
Professor, Technical University of Munich
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Our research consortium spans 12 countries from three continents
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ClimTip brings together climate scientists and experts from 21 leading research institutions and organisations.

Combining diverse expertise
of our partners

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about ClimTip?
Get in touch
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What is ClimTip?
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ClimTip is a multidisciplinary effort dedicated to advancing our understanding and prediction of Earth's climate tipping points. Through cutting-edge research and data analysis, we strive to identify critical thresholds in the climate system, focusing on four major systems: the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and the Amazon rainforest. By developing early warning systems and conducting comprehensive assessments, we aim to mitigate the impacts of these tipping points on ecosystems, societies, and economies worldwide. Our work is crucial for fostering global awareness and collaboration in addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate tipping points.
What are the objectives of the project?
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The primary objectives of the ClimTip project are to deepen our understanding of climate tipping points, refine predictive models, and develop early warning systems. We aim to assess the impacts of tipping events on climate, ecosystems, and society, while formulating strategies for adaptation and mitigation. Additionally, we prioritize raising public awareness about the importance and risks of climate tipping points. Read more about our science goals here.
What are climate tipping points?
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Climate tipping points are critical thresholds in Earth's climate system where small changes can lead to significant and potentially irreversible shifts. These shifts can cause abrupt and profound changes to weather patterns, ecosystems, and human societies, with far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, agriculture, and sea levels. Understanding and addressing these tipping points is imperative for safeguarding our planet's future and fostering a sustainable and resilient world.
How close are we to crossing tipping points?
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While scientists have identified potential tipping points in our climate system, there are significant uncertainties regarding when and how these thresholds may be crossed. These uncertainties underscores the importance of deepening our understanding of climate tipping points and developing early warning systems. The urgency lies in the fact that even small changes in global temperatures can increase the risk of triggering these critical thresholds. By actively addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can work to mitigate the risk of crossing tipping points and minimize their potential impacts on our planet.
What are the most important Tipping Elements?
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While ongoing debates within the scientific community acknowledge uncertainties surrounding the status of various tipping elements in Earth's climate system, certain systems, such as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, Amazon rainforest are widely acknowledged as critical tipping elements. The ClimTip project focuses its research efforts primarily on these major tipping elements, recognizing their paramount importance in global climate dynamics. These elements are significant due to their potential to trigger abrupt and irreversible changes, such as sea level rise, disruptions to global weather patterns, and loss of biodiversity.
Quantifying climate tipping points and
their impacts.
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