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Climate change: How can maths help?

As COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, kicks off 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 episode of our Maths on the move podcast we ask two experts to explain the models that predict how the Earth's climate will behave in the future.

A 60% chance of rain: Weather, climate, and how to deal with uncertainty — In this episode of our Maths on the move podcast we talk to world-leading climate scientists Tim Palmer about climate and weather, the science of uncertainty, and why there needs to be a CERN for climate change.

Balancing the equations of a low carbon energy network — The UK is aiming for a decarbonised electricity supply by 2035. Generating electricity without the use of fossil fuels is not just an engineering and industrial challenge, it is also a huge mathematical challenge.

The lungs of the Earth — The Southern Ocean is a vital component of the Earth's climate system. Here is a look at the mathematical efforts to understand its dynamics and its likely response to climate change.

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.

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