EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Paleoclimatic tipping points and abrupt transitions: An application of advanced time series analysis methods

Witold Bagniewski1, Michael Ghil1,2, and Denis-Didier Rousseau3,4
Witold Bagniewski et al.
  • 1École Normale Supérieure, Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Geosciences, Paris, France (
  • 2University of California at Los Angeles, Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 3Université Montpellier, Geosciences Montpellier, Montpellier, France
  • 4Columbia University, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, New York, USA

Paleoclimate proxy records contain abrupt transitions that may represent former instances of the climate system crossing a tipping point (TP). Properly identifying these TPs in the Earth’s past helps determine critical thresholds in present-day climate and better understand the climate system’s underlying bifurcation mechanisms.

Information contained in paleoclimate proxy records is often ambiguous because of the complexity of the system, which includes both deterministic and stochastic processes. Furthermore, paleoclimate time series differ in their time spans and periodicities, and often have high levels of noise and a nonuniform resolution. These combined sources of uncertainty highlight the need for using advanced statistical methods for robustly identifying and comparing TPs.

A recently developed method that uses an augmented Kolmogorov-Smirnov test has been shown to be highly effective for transition detection in different types of records. Here, we apply this method to a set of high-quality paleoproxy records exhibiting centennial-to millennial-scale variability that have been compiled in the PaleoJump database. We thereby detect previously unrecognized transitions in these records and identify potential TPs. Furthermore, we investigate regime changes with recurrence analysis and spectral analysis.

This study is supported by the H2020-funded Tipping Points in the Earth System (TiPES) project.

How to cite: Bagniewski, W., Ghil, M., and Rousseau, D.-D.: Paleoclimatic tipping points and abrupt transitions: An application of advanced time series analysis methods, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12501,, 2022.