Early-warning signals for critical transitions

M. Scheffer, J. Bascompte, W.A. Brock, V. Brovkin, S.R. Carpenter, V. Dakos, H. Held, E.H. van Nes, M. Rietkerk, G. Sugihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2112 Citations (Scopus)


Complex dynamical systems, ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate, can have tipping points at which a sudden shift to a contrasting dynamical regime may occur. Although predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult, work in different scientific fields is now suggesting the existence of generic early-warning signals that may indicate for a wide class of systems if a critical threshold is approaching
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • abrupt climate-change
  • catastrophic regime shifts
  • self-organized patchiness
  • critical slowing-down
  • thermohaline circulation
  • epileptic seizures
  • time-series
  • ecosystems
  • models
  • thresholds

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