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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor B. Huntley

Bentley, R. A., Maddison, E. J., Ranner, P. H., Bissell, J. J., Caiado, C. C. C. S., Bhatanacharoen, P., Clark, T., Botha, M., Akinbami, F., Hollow, M., Michie, R., Huntley, B., Curtis, S. E. & Garnett, P. R. (2014). Social tipping points and Earth systems dynamics. Frontiers in Environmental Science 2: 35.

Author(s) from Durham


Recently, Early Warning Signals (EWS) have been developed to predict tipping points in
Earth Systems. This discussion highlights the potential to apply EWS to human social
and economic systems, which may also undergo similar critical transitions. Social tipping
points are particularly difficult to predict, however, and the current formulation of EWS,
based on a physical system analogy, may be insufficient. As an alternative set of EWS
for social systems, we join with other authors encouraging a focus on heterogeneity,
connectivity through social networks and individual thresholds to change.