Infographic: Climate crisis has driven world on brink of five ‘disastrous’ tipping points
According to a significant study, the climate catastrophe has brought the globe dangerously close to many "disastrous" tipping points.
It demonstrates that five perilous tipping thresholds may have already been crossed as a result of the 1.1 degrees C global warming brought on by human activity to date.
These include the abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost, the collapse of a major current in the north Atlantic, and the loss of Greenland's ice cap, all of which will result in significant sea level rises.
Four of the five tipping points go from being feasible to likely at 1.5 degrees C of heating, the minimum rise now anticipated, according to the research. Another five tipping points become likely at 1.5 degrees C, including modifications to huge northern forests and the disappearance of practically all alpine glaciers.
The researchers discovered evidence for 16 tipping points in total, the last six of which, in the scientists' estimations, would need to be triggered by global warming of at least 2 degrees C. The tipping points would occur throughout periods of time ranging from a few years to hundreds of years.
The researchers came to the conclusion that beyond 1C of global warming, "the Earth may have left a 'safe' climate state," with the whole history of human civilization has evolved in temperatures lower than this. When one tipping point is crossed, it frequently causes cascades by setting off subsequent ones. However, as this is currently under investigation and was left out of the analysis, there may be minimal risk.
The Amazon rainforest, the Greenland ice sheet, the Gulf Stream currents, and what scientists refer to as the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation are all showing signs of instability recently. Losing these ecosystems would have "profound" effects on the climate and biodiversity of the entire planet (Amoc).
According to a recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with 2C of global warming, the chance of setting off climate tipping points increases.
More than 200 prior studies on historical tipping points, climatic measurements, and modelling studies were reviewed for the analysis, which was published in the journal Science. When a temperature threshold is crossed, a climate system reaches a tipping point that cannot be reversed, even if global warming stops.
The collapse of the Greenland, west Antarctic, and two portions of the east Antarctic ice sheets, the partial and complete collapse of Amoc, Amazon dieback, permafrost collapse, and the loss of winter sea ice in the Arctic are the nine global tipping points that have been identified.