Critical Transitions Workshop II

Thursday, September 8, 10 am – 12:15 pm EDT (New York City time) (2 hours 15 minutes duration)

Following our first workshop, the main goal of this second meeting is to allow for in-depth discussions and to encourage interest groups to form around each of the topics that emerged from the first workshop – for example with the goal to work towards a paper in each group.  

There will be three 35-minute sessions and a plenary session, with a 10-minute break in between.

Time breakdown (Times are given in EDT i.e., New York City time)

10:00 – 10:35 amSession 1 – Early warning signals, phase transitions and applications to physical, social, and ecological systems.
10:35 – 11:10 amSession 2 – How can a critical transitions perspective help govern Socio-Ecological Systems
11:10 – 11:20 am10 minute break
11:20 – 11:55 amSession 3 – Causal inference in critical transitions.
11:55 am – 12:15 pmPlenary discussion – formation of interest groups and next steps

Session 1: Phase transitions: EWS and applications  

Theory of phase transitions & criticality (first and second order): early warning signals (EWS) and applications to physical, social, and ecological systems.

Moderator: Alan Hastings

Session 2: SES Governance in Critical Transitions  

How a critical transitions perspective can help govern socio-ecological systems (SES); particularities of SES governance in critical transitions.

Moderator: Jonathan Donges

Session 3: Causal inference in Critical Transitions

Methods and data.

Moderator: tbd


Moderator: tbd

Formation of interest groups around each topic; next steps.


Unifying/core papers

  1. Boettiger, Carl, Noam Ross, and Alan Hastings. “Early warning signals: the charted and uncharted territories.” Theoretical ecology 6, no. 3 (2013): 255-264.
  2. Hagstrom, George I., and Simon A. Levin. “Phase transitions and the theory of early warning indicators for critical transitions.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.12287 (2021).
  3. Lenton, Timothy M., Hermann Held, Elmar Kriegler, Jim W. Hall, Wolfgang Lucht, Stefan Rahmstorf, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. “Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system.” Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences 105, no. 6 (2008): 1786-1793.
  4. Scheffer, Marten, Jordi Bascompte, William A. Brock, Victor Brovkin, Stephen R. Carpenter, Vasilis Dakos, Hermann Held, Egbert H. Van Nes, Max Rietkerk, and George Sugihara. “Early-warning signals for critical transitions.” Nature 461, no. 7260 (2009): 53-59.

Early warning signals & Tipping

  1. Boers, Niklas, and Martin Rypdal. “Critical slowing down suggests that the western Greenland Ice Sheet is close to a tipping point.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, no. 21 (2021).
  2. Boettiger, Carl, and Alan Hastings. “Early warning signals and the prosecutor’s fallacy.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279, no. 1748 (2012): 4734-4739.
  3. Klose, Ann Kristin, Nico Wunderling, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Jonathan F. Donges. “What do we mean,‘tipping cascade’?.” Environmental Research Letters 16, no. 12 (2021): 125011.

Socio-ecological systems

  1. Rocha, Juan C., Garry Peterson, Örjan Bodin, and Simon Levin. “Cascading regime shifts within and across scales.” Science 362, no. 6421 (2018): 1379-1383.
  2. Wiedermann, M., Donges, J.F., Heitzig, J., Lucht, W. and Kurths, J., 2015. Macroscopic description of complex adaptive networks coevolving with dynamic node states. Physical Review E, 91(5), p.052801.
  3. Winkelmann, Ricarda, Jonathan F. Donges, E. Keith Smith, Manjana Milkoreit, Christina Eder, Jobst Heitzig, Alexia Katsanidou, Marc Wiedermann, Nico Wunderling, and Timothy M. Lenton. “Social tipping processes towards climate action: a conceptual framework.” Ecological Economics 192 (2022): 107242.
  4. Morozov, Andrew, Karen Abbott, Kim Cuddington, Tessa Francis, Gabriel Gellner, Alan Hastings, Ying-Cheng Lai, Sergei Petrovskii, Katherine Scranton, and Mary Lou Zeeman. “Long transients in ecology: theory and applications.” Physics of Life Reviews 32 (2020): 1-40.

Phase Transitions: Theory & Concepts

  1. Rietkerk, Max, Robbin Bastiaansen, Swarnendu Banerjee, Johan van de Koppel, Mara Baudena, and Arjen Doelman. “Evasion of tipping in complex systems through spatial pattern formation.” Science 374, no. 6564 (2021): eabj0359.
  2. Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe. “Crises and collective socio-economic phenomena: simple models and challenges.” Journal of Statistical Physics 151, no. 3 (2013): 567-606.
  3. Herrfahrdt-Pähle, Elke, Maja Schlüter, Per Olsson, Carl Folke, Stefan Gelcich, and Claudia Pahl-Wostl. “Sustainability transformations: socio-political shocks as opportunities for governance transitions.” Global Environmental Change 63 (2020): 102097.
  4. Liu, Ping, C. I. Siettos, C. William Gear, and I. G. Kevrekidis. “Equation-free model reduction in agent-based computations: Coarse-grained bifurcation and variable-free rare event analysis.” Mathematical Modeling of Natural Phenomena 10, no. 3 (2015): 71-90.

Workshop Organizers
Victoria Junquera (Princeton University)
Woi Sok Oh (Princeton University)
Denis Patterson (Princeton University)
Nico Wunderling (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)