The PaleoJump database for abrupt transitions in past climates

Bagniewski, Witold; Rousseau, Denis-Didier; Ghil, Michael

Tipping points (TPs) in Earth’s climate system have been the subject of increasing interest and concern in recent years, given the risk that anthropogenic forcing could cause abrupt, potentially irreversible, climate transitions. Paleoclimate records are essential for identifying past TPs and for gaining a thorough understanding of the underlying nonlinearities and bifurcation mechanisms. However, the quality, resolution, and reliability of these records can vary, making it important to carefully select the ones that provide the most accurate representation of past climates. Moreover, as paleoclimate time series vary in their origin, time spans, and periodicities, an objective, automated methodology is crucial for identifying and comparing TPs. To address these challenges, we introduce the opensource PaleoJump database, which contains a collection of carefully selected, high-resolution records originating in ice cores, marine sediments, speleothems, terrestrial records, and lake sediments. These records describe climate variability on centennial, millennial and longer time scales and cover all the continents and ocean basins. We provide an overview of their spatial distribution and discuss the gaps in coverage. Our statistical methodology includes an augmented Kolmogorov–Smirnov test and Recurrence Quantification Analysis; it is applied here, for illustration purposes, to selected records in which abrupt transitions are automatically detected and the presence of potential tipping elements is investigated. These transitions are shown in the PaleoJump database along with other essential information about the records, including location, temporal scale and resolution, as well as temporal plots. This open-source database represents, therefore, a valuable resource for researchers investigating TPs in past climates.


  • thumnail for WBagniewski_SciRep_DDR2023.pdf WBagniewski_SciRep_DDR2023.pdf application/pdf 1.77 MB Download File

Also Published In

Scientific Reports

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
April 4, 2023


The version uploaded is the compilation of the published article and the supplementary material