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Discussion papers | Copyright
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

Research article | 02 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is 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 Mark M. Dekker et al.
  • 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.

Mark M. Dekker et al.
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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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