Articles | Volume 30, issue 4
Research article
 | Highlight paper
03 Nov 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 03 Nov 2023

Rate-induced tipping in ecosystems and climate: the role of unstable states, basin boundaries and transient dynamics

Ulrike Feudel

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Subject: Bifurcation, dynamical systems, chaos, phase transition, nonlinear waves, pattern formation | Topic: Climate, atmosphere, ocean, hydrology, cryosphere, biosphere | Techniques: Theory
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Cited articles

Alberti, T., Faranda, D., Lucarini, V., Donner, R., Dubrulle, B., and Daviaud, F.: Scale dependence of fractal dimension in deterministic and stochastic Lorenz-63 systems, Chaos, 33, 023144,, 2023. a
Alligood, K. T., Sauer, T. D., and Yorke, J. A.: Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamical Systems, Springer, New York,, 1992. a
Armstrong McKay, D. I., Staal, A., Abrams, J. F., Winkelmann, R., Sakschewski, B., Loriani, S., Fetzner, I., Cornell, S. E., Rockström, J., and Lenton, T. M.: Exceeding 1.5C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points, Science, 1171, eabn7950,, 2022. a
Ashwin, P., Wieczorek, S., Vitolo, R., and Cox, P.: Tipping points in open systems: bifurcation, noise-induced and rate-dependent examples in the climate system, Philos. T. Roy. Soc. A, 370, 1166–1184,, 2012. a, b, c, d, e, f, g
Ashwin, P., Perryman, C., and Wieczorek, S.: Parameter shifts for nonautonomous systems in low dimension: bifurcation-and rate-induced tipping, Nonlinearity, 30, 2185,, 2017. a
Executive editor
This study suggests a necessary shift in the paradigm of nonlinear dynamical systems analysis in climate science, ecology, and beyond. The author delves into a relatively unexplored facet of critical transitions, which is of great importance in examples within the Earth and environmental sciences. In particular, she explains mechanisms based on these ideas in examples of systems that describe population dynamics and climate transitions.
Short summary
Many systems in nature are characterized by the coexistence of different stable states for given environmental parameters and external forcing. Examples can be found in different fields of science, ranging from ecosystems to climate dynamics. Perturbations can lead to critical transitions (tipping) from one stable state to another. The study of these transitions requires the development of new methodological approaches that allow for modeling, analyzing and predicting them.