Beyond the Tipping Point
Positive Feedback and the
by David Wasdell.
This presentation introduces a conceptual, top-down, systems-dynamics approach to modelling the whole earth system as a single global entity. It stands in sharp contrast to the bottom-up, integrational approach adopted in familiar climate modelling.
Analysis of the feedback dynamics in climate change alerts us to the existence of a "tipping point" in the whole earth system. Topological presentation offers a landscape with two complex equilibrium zones. One is the stability of the Holocene epoch, its dynamics grounded in the Pleistocene, with oscillations between cold glacial and warmer inter-glacial periods controlled by variation in distribution of received solar energy between the northern and southern hemispheres. The other zone, entered via a slope of runaway climate change, is the higher-temperature solution of the Anthropocene* Extinction Event.
The natural watershed between the basins has already been passed, and acceleration towards the second solution is underway. Contemporary civilisation faces the choice between continuing the current path towards catastrophe or introducing powerful negative feedback processes able to halt the runaway climate change and return the planet to viable and sustainable equilibrium.