Staff Publications

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 541018
Title Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
Author(s) Steffen, Will; Rockström, Johan; Richardson, Katherine; Lenton, Timothy M.; Folke, Carl; Liverman, Diana; Summerhayes, Colin P.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; Cornell, Sarah E.; Crucifix, Michel; Donges, Jonathan F.; Fetzer, Ingo; Lade, Steven J.; Scheffer, Marten; Winkelmann, Ricarda; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
Source Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115 (2018)33. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 8252 - 8259.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810141115
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Anthropocene - Biosphere feedbacks - Climate change - Earth system trajectories - Tipping elements
Abstract

We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.

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