EARTH OBSERVATION

by Staff Writers
Adelaide, Australia (SPX) Mar 04, 2013


A tipping point occurs when an ecosystem attribute such as species abundance or carbon sequestration responds rapidly and possibly irreversibly to a human pressure like land-use change or climate change.

A group of international ecological scientists led by the University of Adelaide have rejected a doomsday-like scenario of sudden, irreversible change to the Earth’s ecology.

In a paper in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the scientists from Australia, US and UK argue that global-scale ecological tipping points are unlikely and that ecological change over large areas seem to follow a more gradual, smooth pattern.

This opposes recent efforts to define ‘planetary tipping points’, critical levels of biodiversity loss or land-use change that would have global effect, with important implications for science and policy-makers.

“This is good news because it says that we might avoid the doom-and-gloom scenario of abrupt, irreversible change,” says Professor Barry Brook, lead author of the paper and Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide.

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