A tipping element for the Earth’s climate system may be the melting of the summer Arctic sea ice pack, which is occurring at a precipitous rate that has far outpaced the projections of large-scale climate models. As permafrost thaws, some portion of its organic matter will be decomposed by microorganisms, emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While this is another potential tipping point in the climate system and one of the most likely to occur, model estimates do not agree in magnitude or even sign. These types of critical phenomena are of increasing interest as the climate system warms, and are crucial for predicting its stability.

In this talk, Ivan will give examples of how nonlinear and stochastic theories are powerful tools that can be used to address such questions. Ultimately this work will advance the representation of tipping elements in climate models, which will provide better predictions of the fate of Earth systems and the response of ecosystems.

About the speaker:

Dr Ivan Sudakow is a lecturer in applied mathematics at the School of Mathematics & Statistics at the Open University, UK. He is a Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Scholar. He has also been an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Dayton for a long time. Dr Sudakow has a Master’s Degree in Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. The German Federal Government awarded him the title “Green Talent” in 2013 for “his outstanding research of sea ice and his strong commitment to interdisciplinary interaction between mathematics and climate science”. He specialises in data analysis and mathematical modelling for physical and living systems.

Joining the event

This will be a hybrid event, with the opportunity for Imperial staff and students to attend at one of two campus locations (South Kensington and Silwood Park).

In Person

• South Kensington Campus – The Grantham Institute Boardroom, followed by a networking reception.

• Silwood Park Campus – Fisher and Haldane. There will be a livestream followed by a networking reception.


Guests can join the seminar remotely via Zoom. Details to be sent to those who register.


The Changing Planet seminar series is run by students and staff on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Partnership. It offers the chance to hear the latest in understanding, adapting to and mitigating environmental problems, complementing the diversity of environmental research at Imperial College London and beyond. Please be aware that our seminars are recorded. If you do not wish to appear on the recording please alert a member of staff. For any further enquiries regarding the Changing Planet seminar series, please contact us at grantham.events@imperial.ac.uk.

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