tipping point

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tipping point (plural tipping points)

  1. (mathematics, catastrophe theory) The point at which a slow, reversible change becomes irreversible, often with dramatic consequences.
  2. (sociology) A point in time when a group rapidly and dramatically changes its behavior by widely adopting a previously rare practice.
  3. (climatology) An irreversible change in the climate system.
    Coordinate term: tipping element
    • 2005 August 11, Ian Sample, “Warming hits 'tipping point'”, in The Guardian[1]:
      It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures.
    • 2021 August 5, Damian Carrington, “Climate crisis: Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Climate scientists have detected warning signs of the collapse of the Gulf Stream, one of the planet’s main potential tipping points.
  4. The point in time at which some new technology becomes mainstream.


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