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This article gives a wonderful overview of tipping point theory, where a large system can be brought into a different state by a small perturbation.

Bifurcation diagram

Searching online I have found mostly articles on theoreticly based studies on tipping point theory and some speculating on the consequences that may occur due to global warming.

Global warming tipping points

I am wondering if these tipping point theories are still all theoretical or are there any historical examples that provide as a base for these anticipated changes? For example, area the transitions between Eras and Periods also caused by tipping points or are they more gradual changes of the system because they occur on a very large timescale?

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    $\begingroup$ Out of interest: Do you have a link to the source of that second picture? (Maybe add it to the question). Especially because it says Adapted from and contains several Tipped flags, I wonder what the reasoning of the author of this picture for the Tipped is/are. [Google images finds the pictures in many locations] $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Oct 24 '18 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ climateemergencyinstitute.com/tipping_pts.html $\endgroup$ – Bollehenk Oct 24 '18 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ That's not the source, neither is it in any of the references linked from there. The original without the annotations is here. Well, I'll have to keep on digging. $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Oct 24 '18 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ I guess it is not in any publication, maye the original image would have been more suitable indeed. $\endgroup$ – Bollehenk Oct 24 '18 at 9:19
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    $\begingroup$ For your question, yes. I'm interested in the person who put the Tipped on ;-) Nice question BTW $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Oct 24 '18 at 9:21
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Tipping point events have occurred throughout earth's history and parts of the earth system are currently being monitored for signs of abrupt change. Past earth system tipping points include The Great Oxygenation which brought molecular oxygen (O2) into the atmosphere and Snowball Earth events where the earth's surface became ice-covered. Tipping points can occur on a planetary scale, as in the previous examples. These events can also occur on a regional scale. For example, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a regional feature that is currently being monitored for signs of collapse.

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There is probably more up to date information, but have a look at this

Livina et. al. Potential analysis reveals changing number of climate states during the last 60 kyr

for a study showing that abrupt glacial climate change may have been associated with multiple equilibria (and a method to detect transitions between them).

Maybe

Boulton et.al. Early warning signals of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation collapse in a fully coupled climate model

paper is of interest too.

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  • $\begingroup$ This recent paper puts ice sheet collaps in coincidence with "vigorous AMOC", eventually adding to the evidence ot state switches triggering climate reactions: nature.com/articles/s41561-020-0567-4 $\endgroup$ – a_donda Apr 25 at 21:20

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