Mathematics and climate is theme for Math Awareness Month
Release Date: 03-23-2009
April is Math Awareness Month. Each year, the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Society of America, and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics choose a national theme with the goal of increasing public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics. The theme this year is mathematics and climate.
What does mathematics have to do with climate? Everything, according to Dr. Chris Danforth, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics within UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). Danforth, along with leaders from universities such as MIT, Utah, and UC Berkley, was asked to write an essay on the topic for Math Awareness Month because of his work on developing novel techniques to improve weather prediction.
Researchers rely heavily on the use of mathematics to study the Earth's atmosphere and to develop computer models for predicting climate change. Dr. Danforth uses ordinary differential equations to reveal how chaos is a major contributor to inaccuracies in climate forecasting. His essay, "Chaotic Convection in a Toy Climate," describes an experiment to improve mathematical methods for prediction. He has also been invited to Cornell University for their annual public lecture series in conjunction with Math Awareness Month and will deliver a talk entitled, "Uncertainty and Climate Prediction." To learn more about his work, see Chris Danforth's research page.
Other essays at the Math Awareness Month website include "Mathematics in Energy Production," "Global Climate Models," and "A Math Student's Journey to Antarctica." To learn more, go to Math Awareness Month.