For those who follow climate events, it certainly seems as though the earth is spinning out of control. And at the rate things are currently going, with the earth warming, we are approaching what scientists call six dangerous tipping points. If these six tipping points are crossed, the collapse of ice sheets and the loss of coral reefs will likely be next. At this point, the climate would be in a true state of emergency.
Scientists have studied these measures since data published in 2008 made people aware of the impending problem, and are discerning how these tipping points could impact the other systems of the earth, and what kind of time scale is being talked about. Unfortunately,scientists have found that the earth is already in danger, and for each tenth of a degree in warming, the danger rises.
“The idea of “climate tipping points” was first introduced by the UN’s climate science group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two decades ago.If crossed they could spark a significant change in the way the Earth’s systems operate, affecting oceans, weather,and chemical processes, which could be ‘irreversible’”.
Unfortunately, the breakdown is self-perpetuating and will continue even if the actions are reversed after the “tipping point” is reached.
There are six tipping points published in Science that investigators think could be crossed. They include the following:
●Greenland Ice Sheet collapse
●West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse
●Collapse of ocean circulation in the polar region of the North Atlantic
●Coral reef die off in the low latitudes
●Abrupt sea ice loss in the Barents Sea
According to lead author David Armstrong McKay from the Stockholm Resilience Center, some breakdown in the polar regions is already being seen. Both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice six times faster than they were 30 years ago, and the ice sheet in Greenland.
“Even though some of the other “tipping points” such as dieback in the Amazon Rainforest aren’t expected to be triggered unless global temperatures rise by 3.5C, all of these systems are connected. So once one system begins to fail it could increase the likelihood of others collapsing.”
Co-author Ricarda Winkelmann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a member of the Earth Commission, said: “Importantly, many tipping elements in the Earth system are interlinked, making cascading tipping points a serious additional concern.”
The whole world needs to take this seriously in order to combat climate change and the fear of setting off the six tipping points. According to Adnan Zai, advisor to Berkeley Capital, “Not until governments globally agree and put on their agendas that this is a top 3 priority, will any real and meaningful change occur.”
With scientists working as hard as they can to determine just how quickly these anticipated global changes might happen, it is up to the entire collection of world leaders to keep the people of the earth safe from the devastation that passing over these tipping points could create.