Approaching a dangerous bifurcation, from which a dynamical system such as the Earth's climate will jump (tip) to a different state, the current stable state lies within a shrinking basin of attraction. Persistence of the state becomes increasingly precarious in the presence of noisy disturbances. We argue that one needs to extract information about the nonlinear features (a ‘softening’) of the underlying potential from the time series to judge the probability and timing of tipping. This analysis is the logical next step if one has detected a decrease of the linear decay rate. If there is no discernible trend in the linear analysis, nonlinear softening is even more important in showing the proximity to tipping. After extensive normal-form calibration studies, we check two geological time series from palaeo-climate tipping events for softening of the underlying well. For the ending of the last ice age, where we find no convincing linear precursor, we identify a statistically significant nonlinear softening towards increasing temperature.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences|
|Early online date||30 Jan 2012|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Mar 2012|
- time-series analysis
- bifurcation prediction
- climate tipping