11 Nov 2022
11 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Rate-induced tipping in natural and human systems

Paul Ritchie1, Hassan Alkhayuon2, Peter Cox1, and Sebastian Wieczorek2 Paul Ritchie et al.
  • 1College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK
  • 2School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork T12 XF62, Ireland

Abstract. Over the last two decades, tipping points have become a hot topic due to the devastating consequences that they may have on natural and human systems. Tipping points are typically associated with a system bifurcation when external forcing crosses a critical level, causing an abrupt transition to an alternative, and often less desirable, state. The main message of this review is that the rate of change in forcing is arguably of even greater relevance in the human-dominated anthropocene, but is rarely examined as a potential sole mechanism for tipping points. Thus, we address the related phenomenon of rate-induced tipping: an instability that occurs when external forcing varies across some critical rate, usually without crossing any bifurcations. First, we explain when to expect rate-induced tipping. Then, we use three illustrating examples of differing complexity to highlight universal and generic properties of rate-induced tipping in a range of natural and human systems.

Paul Ritchie et al.

Status: open (until 04 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1176', Richard Rosen, 12 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1176', Niklas Boers, 26 Nov 2022 reply

Paul Ritchie et al.

Paul Ritchie et al.


Total article views: 321 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
223 88 10 321 3 3
  • HTML: 223
  • PDF: 88
  • XML: 10
  • Total: 321
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 11 Nov 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 11 Nov 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 301 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 301 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 06 Dec 2022
Short summary
Complex systems can undergo abrupt changes or ‘tipping points’ when external forcing crosses a critical level and are of increasing concern because of their severe impacts. However, tipping points can also occur when the external forcing changes too quickly, without crossing any critical levels, which is very relevant for Earth’s systems and contemporary climate. We give an intuitive explanation of such rate-induced tipping and provide illustrative examples from natural and human systems.