On the interaction of rate-induced and bifurcation-induced tipping in ecosystems

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O'Keeffe, Paul E.
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University College Cork
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We analyse nonlinear tipping phenomena in a bi-stable ecosystem model, defined as sudden and unexpected transitions from the herbivore-dominating equilibrium to the plant-only equilibrium, which are triggered by environmental changes represented by time-varying parameters [Scheffer et al. {\em Ecosystems} 11 2008]. We obtain simple criteria for tipping in terms of properties of the autonomous system with fixed in time parameters. Specifically, we use classical bifurcation analysis to identify a codimension-three degenerate Bogdanov-Takens bifurcation: the organising centre for bifurcation-induced tipping (B-tipping) and the source of a dangerous subcritical Hopf bifurcation. We introduce basin instability analysis to identify parameter paths along which rate-induced tipping (R-tipping) is guaranteed to occur without crossing any bifurcation. We then produce tipping diagrams for the non-autonomous system with time-varying parameters in the plane of the magnitude and rate of a parameter shift to reveal tipping-tracking transitions due to maximal-canard solutions that, perhaps surprisingly, follow unstable states for infinite time. We also uncover non-trivial dynamics arising from the interaction between B-tipping and R-tipping. Given a monotone parameter shift that causes tipping, we ask if tipping can be prevented upon a parameter trend reversal. The ensuing analysis of non-monotone parameter shifts reveals an intriguing tipping diagram with a single critical level and multiple critical rates, indicating that the system switches from tipping to tracking and back to tipping again as the rate of the parameter shift increases. In the diagram, we identify points of no return where tipping cannot be prevented by the parameter trend reversal and points of return tipping where tipping is inadvertently induced by the parameter trend reversal. The results give new insight into the sensitivity of ecosystems to the magnitudes and rates of environmental change. A comparison of the ecosystem model with modified saddle-node and subcritical Hopf normal forms shows that the tipping diagram is characteristic of a non-monotone passage through a basin instability boundary and a generic dangerous bifurcation in nonlinear systems in general.
Tipping points , Tipping diagrams , Critical rates , Ecosystem dynamics , R-tipping , B-tipping , Dangerous bifurcation , Bogdanov-Takens bifurcation , Nonautonomous bifurcation , Basin instability , Parameter paths , Maximal canards , Slow passage through subcritical Hopf bifurcation , Points of return , Points of no return , Points of return tipping , Compactification
O'Keeffe, P. E. 2019. On the interaction of rate-induced and bifurcation-induced tipping in ecosystems. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.