Early-warning signals for critical transitions

  title={Early-warning signals for critical transitions},
  author={Marten Scheffer and Jordi Bascompte and William A. Buz Brock and Victor A. Brovkin and Stephen R. Carpenter and Vasilis Dakos and Hermann Held and Egbert H. van Nes and Max Rietkerk and George Sugihara},
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 early-warning signals that may indicate for a wide class of systems if a critical threshold is approaching. 

Early Warning Signals for Critical Transitions: A Generalized Modeling Approach

A new method for early warning signals that integrates multiple sources of information and data about the system through the framework of a generalized model is proposed, taking an approach of intermediate complexity between model-free approaches and fully parameterized simulations.

No early warning signals for stochastic transitions: insights from large deviation theory

It is demonstrated that conditioning on observing a purely stochastic transition from one stable basin to another could generate time-series trajectories that could be mistaken for an early warning signal of a critical transition.

Early warning signals in complex ecosystems

Abstract. Given the potential for elements of the Earth system to undergo rapid, hard to reverse changes in state, there is a pressing need to establish robust methods to produce early warning

Universal Early Warning Signals of Phase Transitions in Climate Systems

The potential for complex systems to exhibit tipping points in which an equilibrium state undergoes a sudden and potentially irreversible shift is well established, but prediction of these events

Robustness of early warning signals for catastrophic and non-catastrophic transitions

It is found that EWS generally work well to signal an impending saddle-node bifurcation, regardless of the autocorrelation or intensity of the noise, but different methods should be used to predict other types of regime shifts.

The use of spatio-temporal correlation to forecast critical transitions

Complex dynamical systems may have critical thresholds at which the system shifts abruptly from one state to another. Such critical transitions have been observed in systems ranging from the human

Early warning signals also precede non-catastrophic transitions

Synthesis The quickly expanding literature on early warning signals for critical transitions in ecosystems suggests that critical slowing down is a key phenomenon to measure the distance to a tipping

Early warning signals of regime shifts in coupled human–environment systems

It is shown how the coupled HES can be “doomed to criticality”: Strategic human interactions cause the system to remain perpetually in the vicinity of a collapse threshold, as humans become complacent when the resource seems protected but respond rapidly when it is under immediate threat.

Early-warning signals of critical transition: Effect of extrinsic noise.

Stochastic simulations of model systems subject to both IN and EN have verified the theory and demonstrated that EN can dramatically alter and diminish the EWS, which can fail to predict or even give a false alarm of critical transitions.

Rate of forcing and the forecastability of critical transitions

These models predict that the rate of forcing can alter the detectability of early warning signals regardless of the underlying bifurcation the system exhibits, but that this result may be more pronounced in fold bIfurcations.



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.

Interacting regime shifts in ecosystems: implication for early warnings

Big ecological changes often involve regime shifts in which a critical threshold is crossed. Thresholds are often difficult to measure, and transgressions of thresholds come as surprises. If a

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.

Self-Organized Patchiness and Catastrophic Shifts in Ecosystems

A review of recent studies on various ecosystems that link self-organized patchiness to catastrophic shifts between ecosystem states and the implications for management and recovery strategies for such ecosystems.

Thresholds and breakpoints in ecosystems with a multiplicity of stable states

This review discusses how alternate stable states can arise in simple 1- and 2-species systems, and applies these ideas to grazing systems, to insect pests, and to some human host–parasite systems.

Slowing down as an early warning signal for abrupt climate change

This work analyzes eight ancient abrupt climate shifts and shows that they were all preceded by a characteristic slowing down of the fluctuations starting well before the actual shift, implying independent empirical evidence for the idea that past abrupt shifts were associated with the passing of critical thresholds.

A universal law of the characteristic return time near thresholds

A universal law for this increase in characteristic return time to an equilibrium increases when a threshold is approached is found, which may be used to forecast the position of a threshold by extrapolation of empirical data.

Detection of climate system bifurcations by degenerate fingerprinting

A method is introduced to estimate the proximity of climate sub‐systems to non‐linear thresholds. We suggest to measure the smallest decay rate of the system under investigation and to consider its