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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-26
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
02 May 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Cascading transitions in the climate system
Mark M. Dekker1,2,3, Anna S. von der Heydt1,2, and Henk A. Dijkstra1,2 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Department of Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
2Center for Complex Systems Studies, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
3Department of Computer Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Abstract. We provide a theory of cascading tipping, i.e., a sequence of abrupt transitions occurring because a transition in one subsystem changes the background conditions for another subsystem. A mathematical framework of elementary deterministic cascading tipping points in autonomous dynamical systems is presented containing the double-fold, fold-Hopf, Hopf-fold and double-Hopf as most generic cases. Statistical indicators which can be used as early warning indicators of cascading tipping events in stochastic, non-stationary systems are suggested. The concept of cascading tipping is illustrated through a conceptual model of the coupled North Atlantic Ocean – El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system, demonstrating the possibility of such cascading events in the climate system.
Citation: Dekker, M. M., von der Heydt, A. S., and Dijkstra, H. A.: Cascading transitions in the climate system, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-26, in review, 2018.
Mark M. Dekker et al.
Mark M. Dekker et al.
Mark M. Dekker et al.

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Short summary
We provide a theory of cascading tipping, i.e., sequence of abrupt transitions occurring because a transition in a system affects the conditions of one in another system. Using bifurcation theory, various types of these events are suggested in a mathematical framework. Early warning indicators are suggested. An illustration of such events is found in a conceptual model, coupling the North Atlantic ocean with the Equatorial Pacific. This demonstrates the possibility of such events in nature.
We provide a theory of cascading tipping, i.e., sequence of abrupt transitions occurring because...
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