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March 17, 2009 / or4green

April is “Mathematics and Climate” Month

150x150mam2009 Each year a number of US-based mathematical societies (AMS, ASA, MAA, and SIAM) declare April to be Math Awareness month. This year’s theme is Mathematics and Climate. The mathaware.org website contains a number of essays on the subject, a poster and a list of resources (articles, websites, meetings, etc.).

Essay topics range from sea ice to hurricanes to global climate modeling to chaos and weather prediction. For an interesting read on the last of those, check out the essay “Chaotic Convection in a Toy Climate” by Chris Danforth (2nd from the top). For information on bringing climate into the classroom, scroll down to the bottom of the essay page. While much of the mathematics in the essays falls outside the realm of typical OR – climate models, for instance, are often systems of partial differential equations – some of the topics, such as energy production, are filled with OR techniques. (No mention of OR anywhere however – maybe INFORMS should be involved in these math awareness months.)

Under upcoming meetings, there will be several sessions on climate change at an April AMS meeting in Worcester, MA. That includes a talk on chaos and weather by James Yorke (one of my and Chris’ Ph.D. advisors), which should definitely be interesting. Students are especially encouraged to attend – registration is free for the first 50 students and $5 thereafter.

Note that the Math Awareness theme in 1992 was Mathematics and Environment, though back then it was just Mathematics Awareness Week, not Month. Here’s a link to that site.

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