Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Home SCIENCE Climate 'points of no return' may be much closer than we thought

Climate ‘points of no return’ may be much closer than we thought

A new study has warned that irreversible climate “tipping points” are more numerous and closer to being triggered than previously thought. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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Climate tipping points, the “points of no return” beyond which key components of Earth’s climate will begin to break down irreversibly, could be triggered by temperatures much lower than scientists previously thought, with some tipping points inflection potentially reached. There are also many more potential tipping points than scientists previously identified, according to a new study.

In climatology, a turning point is defined as an increase in the temperature beyond which a localized climate system, or “tipping element,” such as the Amazon rainforest or the Greenland ice sheet, begins to shrink irreversibly. Once a tipping point has been reached, that tipping element will experience runaway effects that will essentially doom it forever, even if global temperatures recede below the tipping point.

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