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Critical elements in the Earth’s climate may be more likely to break down than previously thought

Critical elements in the Earth’s climate may be more likely to break down than previously thought, according to a group of scientists. Click here to read the full BBC story.

Their commentary in the journal Nature says there’s growing evidence that irreversible climatic changes could be triggered within a few decades.

The authors claim this could lead to a “climatic emergency” in which one shift amplifies another.

The authors specialise in what’s known as Earth Systems Science, which studies the interactions of elements of the climate system.

For several years they have been promoting the theory that the climate may switch suddenly as a result of one climatic shift amplifying other changes.

Co-author Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, says it is not only human pressures on Earth that continue rising to unprecedented levels.

“It is also that as science advances, we must admit that we have underestimated the risks of unleashing irreversible changes, where the planet self-amplifies global warming," he says.

"This is what we now start seeing, already at 1C global warming.

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