Mathematics Awareness Month
‘Mathematics and Clima te’
Joint Policy Board for Mathematicsw
T
he Joint Policy Board for Mathematics—made up of the
American Mathematical Society, American Statistical
Association, Mathematical Association of America, and Society
ffor Ior ndustrial and Applied Mathematics—is again sponsoring
MaMathematics Awareness Month, which is April. The theme for 2009
iis “Ms “ athematics and Climate.”
One of the most important challenges of our time is modeling
gglobal climate. Slo ome of the fundamental questions researchers are
How long will the summer Arctic sea ice pack survive?
Are hurricanes and other severe weather events getting stronger?
How much will sea level rise as ice sheets melt?
How do human activities affect climate change?
How is global climate monitored?
Calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis, probability,
and statistics arand e just some of the areas of mathematics used to under-
The 2009 Mathematics Awareness Month poster
stand the oceans, atmosphersta e, and polar ice caps, as well as the com-
plex interactions among these vast systems. Indeed, analyzing feedback
effects is a crucial component of global climate modeling and often a

Mathematics,
significant factor in long-term predictions. For example, warmer tem-
peratures cause ice to melt, exposing more land and water so more
computer science,
and other sciences
more warming.
Mathematics, computer science, and other sciences are inextrica-
bly linked, and each is required to begin to solve the fundamental
questions about Earth’s climate, particularly those concerning global
and each is required
warming. Moreover, math and science are central to the development
to begin to solve
of both traditional and alternative energy sources, and to the evolution
of other strategies for mitigating the effects of climate change.
the fundamental Mathematics departments can find a sample press release to be
adapted for public awareness activities on the Mathematics Awareness
Month web site, www.mathaware.org.
Earth’s climate,
Each year, the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics sponsors
Mathematics Awareness Month to recognize the importance of mathe-
particularly those
matics through written materials and an accompanying poster that high-
concerning global
light mathematical developments and applications in a particular area.