Abrupt changes: The achilles' heels of the earth system

Will Steflen, Meinrat O. Andreae, Bert Bolin, Peter M. Cox, Paul J. Crutzen, Ulrich Cubasch, Hemuznn Held, Nebojia Nakidenovic, Robert J. Scholes, Liana Talaue-Mcmanus, B. L. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Records from the past show that abrupt global change is the norm, not the exception, in the Earth System. Many recent changes-such as the globalization of the world's economy and the formation of the ozone hole over Antarctica-appear rapid even from the perspective of a single lifetime. What do we now know about the nature of abrupt changes in the Earth System and the probability that human actions could trigger them? & 2004 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Water Science and Technology


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