Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points

  • Post published:October 4, 2022
  • Reading time:2 mins read
You are currently viewing Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points

Multiple climate tipping points could be triggered if global temperature rises beyond 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, according to a major new analysis published in the journal Science. The international author team, including TiPACCs researcher Ricarda Winkelmann, synthesised evidence for sixteen tipping elements, their temperature thresholds and related timescales. They find that even at current levels of global heating the world is already at risk of passing five dangerous climate tipping points, and risks increase with each tenth of a degree of further warming. Among the most vulnerable tipping elements are the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

Link to the study: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn7950

Press release: https://www.pik-potsdam.de/en/news/latest-news/risk-of-passing-multiple-climate-tipping-points-escalates-above-1-5degc-global-warming

Tipping points explainer: https://www.pik-potsdam.de/en/output/infodesk/tipping-elements/

Figure: The location of climate tipping elements in the cryosphere (blue), biosphere (green), and ocean/atmosphere (orange), and global warming levels at which their tipping points will likely be triggered. Pins are colored according to our central global warming threshold estimate being below 2°C, i.e., within the Paris Agreement range (light orange, circles); between 2 and 4°C, i.e., accessible with current policies (orange, diamonds); and 4°C and above (red, triangles). Figure by Armstrong McKay et al. (Science, 2022).