(CNN)Dangerous climate feedback loops are increasing global warming and risk causing a permanent shift away from the Earth's current climate, according to a new study.
Climate feedback loops are cyclical chain reactions that happen when one change triggers further changes, in a process that keeps on repeating itself. Some of these feedback loops drive down warming, but others amplify it.
Take Arctic ice, for example. Warming temperatures cause sea ice to melt, revealing the dark ocean water beneath. As dark surfaces absorb more heat than reflective surfaces like ice, the ocean warms and more ice melts.
A group of international scientists from institutions including Oregon State University, Exeter University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, pored over climate literature to identify 41 climate feedback loops.
Of these, they found that 27 are driving up global temperatures, according to the study published Friday in the scientific journal One Earth, while just seven are helping to slow the pace of climate crisis.
William Ripple, Professor of Ecology at Oregon State University and a lead author on the study, told CNN that forest die-off, smoldering peatlands and thawing permafrost were particularly worrisome.
"These feedbacks may be large and are difficult to accurately quantify," Ripple told CNN.
The researchers were surprised by the large number of amplifying climate feedback loops they found, he added.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the most extensive list available of climate feedback loops, and not all of them are fully considered in climate models," Christopher Wolf, a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University and the study's other lead author, said in a statement.
Climate feedback loops can also indirectly affect each other, according to the study, creating a complex web of interconnected changes that can accelerate the impacts of the climate crisis.
For example, planet-warming po