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

There is probably more up to date information, but have a look at this paper 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 this paper is of interest too.


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