Abrupt climate change

R. B. Alley, J. Marotzke, W. D. Nordhaus, J. T. Overpeck, D. M. Peteet, R. A. Pietke, R. T. Pierrehumbert, P. B. Rhines, T. F. Stocker, L. D. Tattey, J. M. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

769 Scopus citations

Abstract

Large, abrupt, and widespread climate changes with major impacts have occurred repeatedly in the past, when the Earth system was forced across thresholds. Although abrupt climate changes can occur for many reasons, it is conceivable that human forcing of climate change is increasing the probability of large, abrupt events. Were such an event to recur, the economic and ecological impacts could be large and potentially serious. Unpredictability exhibited near climate thresholds in simple models shows that some uncertainty will always be associated with projections. In light of these uncertainties, policy-makers should consider expanding research into abrupt climate change, improving monitoring systems, and taking actions designed to enhance the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems and economies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2005-2010
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume299
Issue number5615
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 28 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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    Alley, R. B., Marotzke, J., Nordhaus, W. D., Overpeck, J. T., Peteet, D. M., Pietke, R. A., Pierrehumbert, R. T., Rhines, P. B., Stocker, T. F., Tattey, L. D., & Wallace, J. M. (2003). Abrupt climate change. Science, 299(5615), 2005-2010. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1081056