Safe Landing Climates Lighthouse Activity

We aim to identify risks from low-probability, high-impact possibilities with global-scale ramifications. What is known about their occurrence probabilities and consequences, and what significant scientific gaps exist? This theme will seek to identify any unexpected risks (cf. ozone hole resulting from heterogeneous chemistry) and to better incorporate known risks into projection ensembles. Risks that we will consider will include large natural carbon release, ice shelf/sheet collapse, regime shift of ocean/atmosphere circulation, extreme cloud feedbacks and climate sensitivity, the multiplicative effect of compound hazards, biome (e.g., Amazon) collapse, “Fireball Earth,” and large-scale extremes that challenge adaptation such as large-scale desertification, land, and marine heatwaves or storm sequences that exceed physiological limits or otherwise render large regions effectively uninhabitable.

We will identify adaptation limits for human, land, and ocean ecosystems and resources, worst case (extreme/existential) scenarios, and global-scale tipping elements and points. We will also examine how (or if) tail risks could be avoided – or caused – by general or specific climate mitigation efforts, including negative emissions (Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)) or geoengineering / Solar Radiation Management (SRM). This activity will be informed by the results from the carbon cycle, water, and sea level themes.


  • Sufficient understanding of the physical processes underlying tipping points and high-impact events to reliably quantify risks
  • Earth System Models that can credibly incorporate tail risks, compound extremes, uncertain shocks, and tipping elements including those arising from feedbacks between multiple components of the Earth system
  • Strategies to accurately and transparently incorporate low probability/high impact possibilities into projections, risk analysis, and adaptation planning. We anticipate collaboration with the Analysis, Integration, and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES) project and others for expertise on scenarios and planning.

Working Group:

Gabi Hegerl (Lead) University of Edinburgh UK
Bette Otto-Bliesner (Lead) National Center for Atmospheric Research USA
Hannah Liddy Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR), The Earth Institute, Columbia Climate School, The Earth Institute USA
Thomas Lontzek RWTH Aachen University Germany
Izidine Pinto Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI) Netherlands
Ryan Sriver University of Illinois USA
Laura Suarez-Gutierrez Max Planck Institute for Meteorology Germany

Contact: Narelle van der Wel - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Affiliate Members:

Rajendran Shobha Ajin University of Florence, Italy / Resilience Development Initiative (RDI), Indonesia Italy / Indonesia
Ramia Al Bakain The University of Jordan, Department of Chemistry Jordan
Kwesi Twum Antwi-Agyakwa World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience, University of Cape Coast Ghana
Ayanlade Ayansina Obafemi Awolowo University Nigeria
Ana Bastos Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Germany
Emanuele Bevacqua Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ Germany
Oliver Bothe Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon Germany
Kevin Bourne IHS Markit UK
J Brema Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences India
Abhishek Chatterjee NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Caltech USA
Timothy Cowan University of Southern Queensland Australia
Alessandro Craparo Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research Norway
Pranab Deb CORAL, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) India
Vishal Dixit Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) India
Mastawesha Misganaw Engdaw Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz Austria
Erich Fischer ETH Zürich Switzerland
Christian Franzke Center for Climate Physics, Institute for Basic Science China
Pierre  Friedlingstein University of Exeter, Paris Sciences et Lettres University UK, France
Silvia Frisia Conjoint University of Newcastle Australia Australia
Heiko Goelzer NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS Norway
Zengchao Hao Beijing Normal University China
Luke Harrington University of Waikato NZ
Nasim Hossein Hamzeh Atmospheric Science & Meteorological Research Center (ASMERC) Iran
Ravindra  Jadav Government Science College, Ahmedabad India
Michio Kawamiya Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Japan
Timo Kelder Climate Adaptation Services Foundation Netherlands
Hyungjun Kim Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Tokyo, Japan Korea/Japan
Gerbrand Koren Utrecht University Netherlands
Nirmal Kavindra Kularathne University of Sri Jayewardenepura Sri Lanka
Deepak Kumar Atmospheric Science Research Center (ASRC), State University of New York (SUNY) USA
Gad Levy Pan-Ocean Remote Sensing Association/NorthWest Research Association USA
Christopher Little Atmospheric and Environmental Research USA
Prajakta Mohite MSc Student India
Hasibun Naher BRAC University Bangladesh
Abdalla  Osman Adam Abdalla  University of Bahri  Sudan
Marianne Pietschnig University of Oslo Norway
Tanja Porja University of Tirana Albania
Andreas Prein National Center for Atmospheric Research USA
Roshin P. Raj Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center Norway
Caroline Roelandt Federaal agentschap voor nucleaire controle - Agence fédérale de contrôle nucléaire (FANC-AFCNF) Belgium
Athanasios Sfetsos NCSR Demokritos Greece
Naeem Shahzad National University of Sciences and Technology Pakistan
Robin Smith National Centre for Atmospheric Science; University of Reading UK
Terence Thompson The Climate Service, S&P Global USA
Vikki Thompson Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI) Netherlands
Alois Tilloy European Commission Italy
Dongxiao Wang Sun Yat-sen University China
Peter Watson University of Bristol UK
Richard Wood Met Office UK
Yangyang Xu Texas A&M Univerisity USA
Kunhui Ye Oxford University UK
Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick UNSW Sydney Australia