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Complex dynamical systems, ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate, can have tipping points at which a sudden shift to a contrasting dynamical regime may occur. Although predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult, work in different scientific fields is now suggesting the existence of generic(More)
Tipping points in complex systems may imply risks of unwanted collapse, but also opportunities for positive change. Our capacity to navigate such risks and opportunities can be boosted by combining emerging insights from two unconnected fields of research. One line of work is revealing fundamental architectural features that may cause ecological networks,(More)
In the Earth's history, periods of relatively stable climate have often been interrupted by sharp transitions to a contrasting state. One explanation for such events of abrupt change is that they happened when the earth system reached a critical tipping point. However, this remains hard to prove for events in the remote past, and it is even more difficult(More)
Many dynamical systems, including lakes, organisms, ocean circulation patterns, or financial markets, are now thought to have tipping points where critical transitions to a contrasting state can happen. Because critical transitions can occur unexpectedly and are difficult to manage, there is a need for methods that can be used to identify when a critical(More)
Ecosystems close to a critical threshold lose resilience, in the sense that perturbations can more easily push them into an alternative state. Recently, it has been proposed that such loss of resilience may be detected from elevated autocorrelation and variance in the fluctuations of the state of an ecosystem due to critical slowing down; the underlying(More)
We address whether robust early warning signals can, in principle, be provided before a climate tipping point is reached, focusing on methods that seek to detect critical slowing down as a precursor of bifurcation. As a test bed, six previously analysed datasets are reconsidered, three palaeoclimate records approaching abrupt transitions at the end of the(More)
Tipping points, at which complex systems can shift abruptly from one state to another, are notoriously difficult to predict. Theory proposes that early warning signals may be based on the phenomenon that recovery rates from small perturbations should tend to zero when approaching a tipping point; however, evidence that this happens in living systems is(More)
Most work on generic early warning signals for critical transitions focuses on indicators of the phenomenon of critical slowing down that precedes a range of catastrophic bifurcation points. However, in highly stochastic environments, systems will tend to shift to alternative basins of attraction already far from such bifurcation points. In fact, strong(More)
There is a recognized need to anticipate tipping points, or critical transitions, in social-ecological systems. Studies of mathematical and experimental systems have shown that systems may 'wobble' before a critical transition. Such early warning signals may be due to the phenomenon of critical slowing down, which causes a system to recover slowly from(More)
A number of ecosystems can exhibit abrupt shifts between alternative stable states. Because of their important ecological and economic consequences, recent research has focused on devising early warning signals for anticipating such abrupt ecological transitions. In particular, theoretical studies show that changes in spatial characteristics of the system(More)