The concept of “tipping points” - passing critical thresholds which lead to abrupt changes in our climate systems – is becoming a familiar one in discussions of the climate. They are an example of positive feedbacks, where a small change quickly leads to bigger changes.
An illustration of this is a process called “albedo flip”, where a small amount of melting creates a film of water on top of ice. The water absorbs infrared radiation and melts more ice, leading to runaway melting of the ice sheet.
Rising global temperatures can also lead to thresholds representing the combination of multiple processes. These include the release of methane from permafrost or polar ocean sediments, retreating sea ice and ice sheets, warming oceans, the collapse of ocean current systems and large scale fires.
Dr Andrew Glikson will give a short presentation about these climate tipping points. Participants will then split into small groups to discuss:
- Which climate tipping points are likely to have the greatest impact in Australia (environmentally and / or psychologically)?
- Could better communication of climate tipping points help facilitate more action on climate change? If so, outline communication approaches.
- What adaptation measures could we take to lessen their effects?
This event is part of Global Climate Change Week (15-21 October 2018). Global Climate Change Week aims to encourage academic communities – including academics, students, and non-academic staff at universities – in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities, and policy makers on climate change action and solutions.
About the Speaker
Dr Andrew Glikson is an earth and paleoclimate scientist, who’s currently a Visiting Fellow with the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU. He has published numerous books and papers, including Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon.
About Climate Café
Climate Café is a relaxed gathering of people interested in discussing ideas and questions on climate change and related topics. It cuts across disciplines, is inclusive, jargon-free and fun. The approach is modelled on dialogue events such as Café Philosophic and Café Scientifique.
Please note that it is very difficult to find parking at ANU at this time of day - we advise using public transport, taxi, cycling or walking. If you have to drive, allow plenty of time to find a park and log into the online parking system which can be downloaded here. View visitor parking map