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PLOS Climate Focus Topic: Earth System Tipping Points

Over the coming months, PLOS Climate will be calling for submissions on a series of Focus Topics, identified by our editors as being of special significance in supporting evidence-based climate action. Peer-reviewed articles that align with these Focus Topics will be highlighted to our broad and interdisciplinary readership through blog posts and our social media channels.

Here we announce a Focus Topic on Earth System Tipping Points!

This week, South American leaders and representatives of Indigenous communities met in the Brazilian city of Belém to formulate a joint declaration on their ambition for the protection of the Amazon Forest from the host of threats ranged against it. One of the key motivations behind this effort was the significance of the Amazon as a major biophysical component in the earth system, and the warnings that scientists have issued about the crossing of tipping points that could mean that the forest has already moved from being a sink to a net source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, recently published research has sparked renewed focus on the timescale of tipping points in North Atlantic ocean circulation, and thresholds for polar ice collapse are the subject of intense investigation and frequent discussion. There is broad scientific consensus that the current pace of anthropogenic climate change puts us on course to pass a number of key tipping points in the earth system, leading to consequences that will be irreversible for centuries or millennia.

However, there are many unexplored questions about the exact nature of many of these tipping points, how the likelihood and timing of passing them could relate to different mitigation scenarios, and what the ramifications might be. In recognition of the urgency of developing a robust and accessible peer-reviewed evidence base that addresses these questions, PLOS Climate is launching a Focus Topic dedicated to Earth System Tipping Points. We encourage submissions of research that shines light on physical, ecological, sociological and policy dimensions of tipping points in all parts of the earth system.

Ready to submit your work for this PLOS Climate Focus Topic? Here’s our step-by-step guide to the submission process. Make sure to mention the Focus Topic in your cover letter when you submit!

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