MDV 29 medium

Photo: Marte Hofsteenge

Antarctic tipping points: The irreversible changes to come if we fail to keep warming below 2℃

14 June 2023

Feedback loops – cyclical chain reactions that repeat again and again – can make the effects of climate change stronger or weaker, sometimes stabilising the system, but more often amplifying a response with adverse impacts. Change is also not always linear. It can be abrupt and irreversible on human timescales if a threshold or tipping point is crossed.

While recent Antarctic extremes are not necessarily tipping points, ongoing warming will accelerate ice loss and ocean warming, pushing Antarctica towards thresholds which, once crossed, would lead to irreversible changes – with global long-term, multi-generational repercussions and major consequences for people and the environment.

In a recent article in The Conversation, the Antarctic Science Platform’s Tim Naish outlines a possible sequence of changes and consequences, including feedback loops and thresholds, using the example of global heating melting Antarctica’s ice sheets and the resulting sea-level rise.

Read the full article.

ASP Tipping Points Landscape Version July23

Antarctic Science Platform & Bec McMaster of ReMaster, CC BY-NDa