AMBIO

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Arctic Tipping Points in an Earth System Perspective

Article

Abstract

We provide an introduction to the volume The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points. The terms tipping point and tipping element are described and their role in current science, general debates, and the Arctic are elucidated. From a wider perspective, the volume focuses upon the role of humans in the Arctic component of the Earth system and in particular the envelope for human existence, the Arctic ecosystems. The Arctic climate tipping elements, the tipping elements in Arctic ecosystems and societies, and the challenges of governance and anticipation are illuminated through short summaries of eight publications that derive from the Arctic Frontiers conference in 2011 and the EU FP7 project Arctic Tipping Points. Then some ideas based upon resilience thinking are developed to show how wise system management could ease pressures on Arctic systems in order to keep them away from tipping points.

Keywords

Earth system Tipping points Climate tipping elements Points of no return Resilience 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This volume is based upon the invited lectures of the Arctic Frontiers conference The Arctic in the Earth System perspective: the role of tipping points that took place in Tromsø in January 2011 (www.arctic-frontiers.com). It is supplemented by scientists involved in the ATP (www.eu-atp.org/) project, a venture funded by FP7 of the European Union (contract #226248). We thank the organisers of the Arctic Frontiers conference for the opportunity to coordinate the conference and the ATP team for the support. The editors thank the many referees for their contribution to this volume. Rudi Caeyers and Frøydis Strand supported the volume through photographs and graphics.

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Bioscience, Fishery and EconomyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Hatherly LaboratoriesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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