Anticipating Critical Transitions

  title={Anticipating Critical Transitions},
  author={Marten Scheffer and Stephen R. Carpenter and Timothy M. Lenton and Jordi Bascompte and William A. Buz Brock and Vasilis Dakos and Johan van de Koppel and Ingrid A. van de Leemput and Simon Asher Levin and Egbert H. van Nes and Mercedes Pascual and John Vandermeer},
  pages={344 - 348}
All Change Research on early warning signals for critical transitions in complex systems such as ecosystems, climate, and global finance systems recently has been gathering pace. At the same time, studies on complex networks are starting to reveal which architecture may cause systems to be vulnerable to systemic collapse. Scheffer et al. (p. 344) review how previously isolated lines of work can be connected, conclude that many critical transitions (such as escape from the poverty trap) can have… 

Managing for resilience: early detection of regime shifts in complex systems

Fisher information is compared to traditional indicators through the assessment of model and real systems and identified as a leading indicator of impending regime shifts and offers great promise for resilience science and sustainability.

Exit time as a measure of ecological resilience

The mathematical concept of mean exit time, the time it takes for a system to cross a threshold, can help to solve this problem and characterize the resilience of complex systems and is proposed as a measure of resilience, which can be formalized as the meanexit time from an attraction basin.

Critical slowing down as early warning for the onset of collapse in mutualistic communities

This work finds that critical slowing-down indicators derived from time series of biomasses measured at the species and community level signal the proximity to the onset of community collapse, and identifies specialist species as likely the best-indicator species for monitoring the proximity of a community to collapse.

Foreseeing the future of mutualistic communities beyond collapse

A model of a bipartite mutualistic network is used and it is shown that a network's post‐transition state is indicated by the way in which a system recovers from minor disturbances, suggesting that the results are of relevance to a wide range of mutualistic systems.

Early warning signals: the charted and uncharted territories

A core of examples emerges that shares three properties: the phenomenon of rapid regime shifts, a pattern of “critical slowing down” that can be used to detect the approaching shift, and a mechanism of bifurcation driving the sudden change.

Network resilience

This report is devoted to a comprehensive review of resilience function and regime shift of complex systems in different domains, such as ecology, biology, social systems and infrastructure, and discusses some ambiguous definitions, including robustness, resilience, and stability.

Tipping positive change

  • T. Lenton
  • Economics
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
  • 2020
The same methods that can provide early warning of damaging environmental tipping points can be used to detect when a socio-technical or socio-ecological system is most sensitive to being deliberately tipped in a desirable direction.

Lack of Critical Slowing Down Suggests that Financial Meltdowns Are Not Critical Transitions, yet Rising Variability Could Signal Systemic Risk

The analysis reveals that three major US markets and two European markets did not exhibit critical slowing down prior to major financial crashes over the last century, and shows that a gradually increasing strength of stochastic perturbations may have caused to abrupt transitions in the financial markets.

Evaluating early-warning indicators of critical transitions in natural aquatic ecosystems

Four commonly used early-warning indicators are assessed on long-term datasets of five freshwater ecosystems that have experienced sudden, persistent transitions and for which the relevant ecological mechanisms and drivers are well understood, suggesting a priori knowledge of the underlying mechanisms driving ecosystem transitions is necessary to identify relevant state variables for successfully monitoring EWIs.

Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond

It is argued further that proactive steps that go beyond will be necessary to reduce unacceptable consequences and that proactive measures can increase general resilience, a first line of protection, while more specific reactive responses are developed.



Methods for Detecting Early Warnings of Critical Transitions in Time Series Illustrated Using Simulated Ecological Data

A range of currently available early warning methods are summarized and applied to two simulated time series that are typical of systems undergoing a critical transition, offering a practical toolbox that may be used in a wide range of fields to help detect early warning signals of critical transitions in time series data.

Generic Indicators for Loss of Resilience Before a Tipping Point Leading to Population Collapse

The results suggest that indicators of critical slowing down can provide advance warning of catastrophic thresholds and loss of resilience in a variety of dynamical systems.

Rising variance: a leading indicator of ecological transition.

Simulations show that rising standard deviation could signal impending regime shift about a decade in advance, and increasing variability of lake-water phosphorus was discernible prior to the shift to eutrophic conditions.

Spatial correlation as leading indicator of catastrophic shifts

Generic early-warning signals such as increased autocorrelation and variance have been demonstrated in time-series of systems with alternative stable states approaching a critical transition.

Turning back from the brink: Detecting an impending regime shift in time to avert it

To improve usefulness in averting ecological regime shifts, research is suggested to focus on defining critical indicator levels rather than detecting change in the indicators, and a new spectral density ratio indicator is presented.

Early warning of climate tipping points from critical slowing down: comparing methods to improve robustness

Robust indicators of critical slowing down are found prior to the abrupt warming event at the end of the Younger Dryas, but the indicators are less clear prior toThe Bølling-Allerød warming, or glacial termination in Antarctica.

Slow Recovery from Perturbations as a Generic Indicator of a Nearby Catastrophic Shift

The robust occurrence of critical slowing down is demonstrated in six ecological models and the robustness of the phenomenon makes it a promising indicator of loss of resilience and the risk of upcoming regime shifts in a system.

Early-warning signals for critical transitions

Work in different scientific fields is now suggesting the existence of generic early-warning signals that may indicate for a wide class of systems if a critical threshold is approaching.

Analysis of abrupt transitions in ecological systems

The occurrence and causes of abrupt transitions, thresholds, or regime shifts between ecosystem states are of great concern and the likelihood of such transitions is increasing for many ecological

Changing skewness: an early warning signal of regime shifts in ecosystems.

It is shown that changes in asymmetry in the distribution of time series data, quantified by changing skewness, is a model-independent and reliable early warning signal for both routes to regime shifts.