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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 433445
Title Flickering gives early warning signals of a critical transition to a eutrophic lake state : Letter
Author(s) Wang, R.; Dearing, J.; Langdon, P.G.; Zhang, E.; Yang, X.; Dakos, V.; Scheffer, M.
Source Nature 492 (2012). - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 419 - 422.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11655
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) aquatische ecologie - oppervlaktewaterkwaliteit - meren - eutrofiëring - algen - toestandsverandering - overgangselementen - interacties - china - aquatic ecology - surface water quality - lakes - eutrophication - algae - change of state - transition elements - interactions - ecosystem services - regime shifts - climate-change - tipping point - resilience - systems - science - time
Categories Water Quality / Aquatic Ecology
Abstract There is a recognized need to anticipate tipping points, or critical transitions, in social–ecological systems1, 2. Studies of mathematical3, 4, 5 and experimental6, 7, 8, 9 systems have shown that systems may ‘wobble’ before a critical transition. Such early warning signals10 may be due to the phenomenon of critical slowing down, which causes a system to recover slowly from small impacts, or to a flickering phenomenon, which causes a system to switch back and forth between alternative states in response to relatively large impacts. Such signals for transitions in social–ecological systems have rarely been observed11, not the least because high-resolution time series are normally required. Here we combine empirical data from a lake-catchment system with a mathematical model and show that flickering can be detected from sparse data. We show how rising variance coupled to decreasing autocorrelation and skewness started 10–30 years before the transition to eutrophic lake conditions in both the empirical records and the model output, a finding that is consistent with flickering rather than critical slowing down4, 12. Our results suggest that if environmental regimes are sufficiently affected by large external impacts that flickering is induced, then early warning signals of transitions in modern social–ecological systems may be stronger, and hence easier to identify, than previously thoug
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