|There are many amplifying global warming feedback loops that significantly increase the warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. However, not all of these feedbacks are fully accounted for in current climate models. Thus, potential mitigation pathways based on these models could be overly optimistic and fail to sufficiently limit temperatures. A targeted expansion of research is needed to incorporate biologically-based feedbacks into Earth system models to guide climate policy objectives. Concurrently, policymakers must implement plans to minimize risks by greatly accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
To learn more about climate feedbacks, please see our recent paper, Many risky feedback loops amplify the need for climate action, written by William J. Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Timothy M. Lenton, Jillian W. Gregg, Susan M. Natali, Philip B. Duffy, Johan Rockström, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, or one of these articles about the paper: Many risky feedback loops amplify the need for climate action: Nearly 30 dangerous feedback loops could permanently shift the Earth’s climate, scientists say (CNN), Scientists Examine Dangerous Global Warming 'Accelerators' (Inside Climate News). Feel free to also check out the materials on our website below, many of which are adapted from the paper's supplement.
You are welcome to distribute our feedbacks infographic, which outlines several feedback loops:
|One of the most important climate feedback loops involves sea ice and albedo (reflectance). To get a sense of how this loop operates, simply click the up arrow on "Temperature" and watch what happens to the three circles:
Feedback loops involving temperature can also indirectly affect each other. Clicking the up arrow on "Temperature" in this example shows how the wildfire and permafrost feedbacks can operate in parallel:
Here's an even more complex example, which includes the sea ice and soil carbon loops:
Feedback description: Click a picture to read about the associated feedback loop