Climate change: How can maths help?

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As the world prepares for COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow in November, we highlight our content on climate modelling and the ways maths and physics have been essential to understand and tackle the climate crisis.

Modelling the effects of climate change

Climate modelling made easy — Make your own climate prediction with this simple, but powerful, model!

Climate change: Does it all add up? — An insightful look at the climate models that predict our future climate.

How to predict our changing climate — In this podcast we ask two experts to explain the models that predict how the Earth's climate will behave in the future.

The speed of climate change — Estimating the speed of climate change using the distance animal and plant species would have to migrate every year to maintain a constant temperature in their surroundings.

Maths and climate change: the melting Arctic — Mathematical modelling is key to predicting how much longer the ice will be around and assessing the impact of an ice free Arctic on the rest of the planet.

Some of the maths you need for climate modelling

The shower equation: Dealing with delay — Many processes, including climate change and the spread of COVID-19, involve a delay. Here's a beautiful equation designed to model such processes.

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics — This year's Nobel Prize recognised work in complex systems that lead the way to demonstrating the impact of humans on the climate.

Maths in a minute: The Navier-Stokes equations — The equations that are key to predicting the weather.

Have a go yourself!

Climate Change, Carbon Footprints and Maths — A collection of fascinating interactivities and problems from our friends at NRICH for you to develop your carbon numeracy.

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.

  • What do chocolate and mayonnaise have in common? It's maths! Find out how in this podcast featuring engineer Valerie Pinfield.

  • Is it possible to write unique music with the limited quantity of notes and chords available? We ask musician Oli Freke!

  • How can maths help to understand the Southern Ocean, a vital component of the Earth's climate system?

  • Was the mathematical modelling projecting the course of the pandemic too pessimistic, or were the projections justified? Matt Keeling tells our colleagues from SBIDER about the COVID models that fed into public policy.

  • PhD student Daniel Kreuter tells us about his work on the BloodCounts! project, which uses maths to make optimal use of the billions of blood tests performed every year around the globe.