|Early‐warning signals for marine anoxic events|Hennekam, R.; Bolt, B.; van Nes, E.H.; de Lange, G.J.; Scheffer, M.; Reichart, G.-J. (2020). Early‐warning signals for marine anoxic events. Geophys. Res. Lett. 47(20): e2020GL089183. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020gl089183
In: Geophysical Research Letters. American Geophysical Union: Washington. ISSN 0094-8276; e-ISSN 1944-8007, meer
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NIOZ: NIOZ Open Repository 354968
anoxia; sapropels; early-warning signals; tipping points; Mediterranean Sea; sedimentary trace metals
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- Hennekam, R., meer
- Bolt, B.
- van Nes, E.H.
- de Lange, G.J.
- Scheffer, M.
- Reichart, G.-J., meer
Predicting which marine systems are close to abrupt transitions into oxygen‐deficient conditions (“anoxia”) is notoriously hard but important—as rising temperatures and coastal eutrophication drive many marine systems toward such tipping points. Rapid oxic‐to‐anoxic transitions occurred regularly within the eastern Mediterranean Sea on (multi)centennial time scales, and hence, its sedimentary archive allows exploring statistical methods that can indicate approaching tipping points. The here presented high‐resolution reconstructions of past oxygen dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea reveal that early‐warning signals in these deoxygenation time series occurred long before fast transitions to anoxia. These statistical indicators (i.e., rise in autocorrelation and variance) are hallmarks of so‐called critical slowing down, signaling a steady loss of resilience of the oxygenated state as the system approaches a tipping point. Hence, even without precise knowledge of the mechanisms involved, early‐warning signals for widespread anoxia in marine systems are recognizable using an appropriate statistical approach.