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

Partial tipping in a spatially heterogeneous world

Robbin Bastiaansen, Henk Dijkstra, and Anna von der Heydt
Robbin Bastiaansen et al.
  • Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands (,,

Many climate subsystems are thought to be susceptible to tipping - and some might be close to a tipping point. The general belief and intuition, based on simple conceptual models of tipping elements, is that tipping leads to reorganization of the full (sub)system. Here, we explore tipping in conceptual, but spatially extended and spatially heterogenous models. These are extensions of conceptual models taken from all sorts of climate system components on multiple spatial scales. By analysis of the bifurcation structure of such systems, special stable equilibrium states are revealed: coexistence states with part of the spatial domain in one state, and part in another, with a spatial interface between these regions. These coexistence states critically depend on the size and the spatial heterogeneity of the (sub)system. In particular, in these systems a tipping point might lead to a partial tipping of the full (sub)system, in which only part of the spatial domain undergoes reorganization, limiting the impact of these events on the system's functioning.

How to cite: Bastiaansen, R., Dijkstra, H., and von der Heydt, A.: Partial tipping in a spatially heterogeneous world, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2198,, 2022.