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Top: Atmospheric CO2 and continental glaciation 400 Ma to present.
Vertical bars mark the timing and palaeo-latitudinal extent of ice sheets. Plotted CO2
records represent five-point running averages from each of the four major proxies:
stomata leaf pores, phytoplankton, Boron, pedogenic carbonates.
Middle: Global compilation of deep-sea benthic foraminifera 18O isotope records from 40 Deep Sea Drilling Program and Ocean Drilling Program sites updated with high-resolution records for the Eocene through Miocene interval.
Bottom: Detailed record of CO2 for the last 65 Myr. The range of error for each CO2 proxy varies considerably, with estimates based on soil nodules yielding the greatest uncertainty. Also plotted are the plausible ranges of CO2 from three geochemical carbon cycle models. (After figure 6, http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/ AR4WG1_Print_Ch06.pdf)
Figure 2. One realization of the globally averaged surface air temperature from the ECHAM5 coupled climate model forced with the SRES A2 greenhouse gas increase scenario for the 21st century. Easterling and Wehner (2009). Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L08706 (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL037810.shtml
Figure 3. Map of potential policy-relevant tipping elements in the climate system, overlain on global population density. Subsystems indicated could exhibit threshold-type behavior in response to anthropogenic climate forcing, where a small perturbation at a critical point qualitatively alters the future fate of the system. They could be triggered this century and would undergo a qualitative change within this millennium We exclude from the map systems in which any threshold appears inaccessible this century (e.g., East Antarctic Ice Sheet) or the qualitative change would appear beyond this millennium (e.g., marine methane hydrates). Question marks indicate systems whose status as tipping elements is particularly uncertain. Lenton, T.M., et al., 2008. Tipping points in the Earth system. PNAS, 105, 1786–1793 _ http://www.pnas.org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0705414105/