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NCCOS and Partners Explore Climate-Related Thresholds and Tipping Points

Published on: 09/11/2014
Research Area(s): Coastal Change
Primary Contact(s): elizabeth.turner@noaa.gov

Stakeholders expressedconcerns related to climate thresholds and tipping points for coastal systems through a workshop held at the Hollings Marine Lab August 18-19, 2014. Representatives from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, other National Ocean Service (NOS) offices, coastal management groups, and academia discussed theapplication of tipping point concepts for coastal managers, and associated climate-related environmental drivers.

An ecological threshold is the tippingpoint at whichevensmall changes in an environmental driver (such as sea level rise or increased temperature) have a major impact onthe ecosystem. Knowingwhen a system is close to a threshold is important for adaptingmanagement strategies to avoid or mitigate harmful effects from a system transitioning to a new state.

Understanding and predicting climate-related thresholds for coastal systems requiresa coordinated effort among many NOS offices and partners to provide long-term data, understand ecosystem variability and physical-biological linkages, and incorporate that understanding into management tools.

For more information, contact Beth Turner.

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