Topics in Applied Mathematics

Earth's climate is changing rapidly, creating a crisis for humanity. This course will investigate the changing climate from a mathematical perspective by investigating simple models, comparing them to data, and using them to predict future changes.

Questions to be studied include these: What determines Earth's surface temperature? What is the role of greenhouse gasses, and why are they increasing so dramatically? What is the role of ocean circulation? When will the Arctic Ocean become ice free? How fast will the permafrost melt, and how will its melting affect the climate?

Mathematical topics will include: basic energy balance models, box models of ocean circulation, and basics of radiative transfer in the atmosphere.

Prerequisites are two years of calculus, including differential equations and linear algebra, or consent of the instructor. No background in climate science will be assumed, but some knowledge of basic classical physics (e.g., conservation of energy) will be helpful.

Last update: August 30, 2023

©2023 Richard McGehee