This course for junior and senior math majors uses mathematics from ordinary differential equations, to analyze and understand a variety of real-world problems. Among the civic problems explored are specific instances of population growth and over-population, over-use of natural resources leading to extinction of animal populations and the depletion of natural resources, genocide, and the spread of diseases, all taken from current events. While mathematical models are not perfect predictors of what will happen in the real world, they can offer important insights and information about the nature and scope of a problem, and can inform solutions.
This two-day short course introduces conceptual models of the Earth’s climate system. The first day is devoted to Energy Balance Models (EBMs): differential equations which express the physical law of energy conservation in mathematical terms. The second day is devoted to incorporating observational data from the paleoclimate record and computational data from simulations of the Earth’s orbit during the Pliocene and Pleistocene into EBMs. The hands-on worksheets include simulations of models to explore the interplay between energy balance, ice-albedo feedback, Milankovitch cycles in Earth’s orbit, and other feedback mechanisms.
There are recorded lectures, PDF slides and hands on worksheets with theoretical and computational exercises.
MCRN Annotated reading lists: Each reading list is designed to provide an introductory guide to one area of climate science through its literature. They can be used for independent study, or as the foundation for upper division and graduate reading courses. Topics include
- Sea-ice physics and biology by Steve Ackley
- Complex Phytoplankton Dynamics: The Mathematical Perspective, by Arjen Doelman and Antonios Zagaris
- Biology, Chemistry, and Physics of Biofilms: Survey of basics, by Isaac Klapper
- Low-Order Climate Models, by Daniel Koll
- What Makes a Planet Habitable? by Daniel Koll
- Air-Sea Carbon Dioxide Exchange, by Nicole Lovenduski
- Glacial-Interglacial Mechanisms: How can we explain the observed 80-100ppm difference between warm (high CO2) interglacials and cold (low CO2) glacials? by Irina Marinov
- The Ocean Carbon Pumps: How do the oceanic carbon pumps control CO2? Theory and models, by Irina Marinov
- Mnimal Complexity Paleoclimate Modeling: Connection between the carbon cycle and glacial cycles, by Samantha Oestreicher
- Oceans: Dynamics, Transport/Mixing and Climate Change, by Emily Shuckburgh
- Growing Algae for Biofuels and Biomass – Literature for the basics by David N. Thomas
- Phytoplankton Growth – Literature for the basics by David N. Thomas
Prepared by researchers in the field for the Mathematics and Climate Research Network (MCRN). Funded by NSF.
- 2013 – Mathematical and Sustainability
- 2011 – Unraveling Complex Systems
- 2009 – Mathematics and Climate
- 2008 – Math and Voting
- 2005 – Mathematics and the Cosmos
- 2004 – The Mathematics of Networks
- 2002 – Mathematics and the Genome
- 2001 – Mathematics and the Ocean
- 1996 – Mathematics and Decision Making
Jointly organized by the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
Coming Soon: modules on math and sustainability topics, developed with NSF funding at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) in collaboration with the Mathematics and Climate Research Network. Modules are targeted to core curriculum college mathematics courses, and designed to take between one day and one week of class time. Topics include:
- Carbon footprint analysis
- Energy balance models of Earth’s climate
- Environmental pollution