What elements threaten to accelerate climate change?

If temperatures continue to rise, we could hit critical thresholds that significantly accelerate climate change. In climate research, these critical thresholds are called tipping points. They are a part of the global climate system. Passing even just a few tipping points will have extensive environmental impacts that jeopardize the basis of life for many people, animals, and plants. Such an event could also trigger a chain reaction, where the passing of one tipping point leads to further tipping points being passed. Scientists refer to this as a feedback process.

Many processes related to the tipping points have not been sufficiently researched yet. As a result, it is also difficult to estimate when and to what extent tipping elements will occur. Nevertheless, it is important for climate research to define them. Aided by climate models, scientists are able to calculate different scenarios, providing them with guidance on where they should focus their research in the future. 

Learn more about the most important tipping points in our series

Tipping points in the climate system

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