What is critical slowing down? 2018-06-23T09:22:49+00:00

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  • James AllensJames Allens
    Participant
    Post count: 15

    Hi all, I have heard the term a few times with respect to resilience and have had it explained a couple of times but still not sure what it means???

    Joss ColchesterJoss Colchester
    Keymaster
    Post count: 26

    Hi, Critical slowing down is basically the idea that as a system approaches a critical state the recovery rate at which the system returns back to its initial equilibrium following a perturbation decreases i.e. slows down. This theory posits that in cases where a system is close to a critical tipping point the recovery rate should decrease. As conditions bring the system close to a critical transition, the basin of attraction of the current state of the system shrinks and so does its resilience. At the same time, the steepness of the basin of attraction becomes lower: this means that the same perturbation that may not flip the system will though likely take longer to dissipate, meaning it will take longer for the system to return to its point of equilibrium when close to a tipping point. The simplest way to measure the approach to a potential tipping point then would be to directly measure the recovery rate at which the system returns back to its initial equilibrium state following a perturbation. In cases where the system is close to a tipping point the recovery rate should decrease. As such critical slowing down offers some potential to probe the dynamics of a system in order to assess its resilience and the risk of an upcoming regime shift

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