Mathematics for Planet Earth

Scientists and schools join forces to understand urban climate

A new citizen science project will place meteorological and air quality sensors in Sydney schools to gather valuable research data and increase awareness of the changing local urban environment.

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 12.31.42 pm.png

The Schools Weather and Air Quality (SWAQ) project is the brain-child of Melissa Hart, Angela Maharaj and Giovanni Di Virgilio of UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre. With funding from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, SWAQ will improve urban weather and air quality measurements around Sydney by placing meteorological and air quality sensors in its schools. Students will collect and analyse research quality data for use in science and geography curriculum-aligned classroom activities. The data will also be freely available online to the public and researchers via this website, enabling everyone to visualize the data and the current weather and air quality of each school’s location.

SWAQ investigator Angela Maharaj will discuss the SWAQ project and citizen science at a public lecture at the Bureau of Meteorology in Sydney on December 14 2018 as part of the upcoming Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics workshop. All are welcome to attend this event.

Speaker: Dr Angela Maharaj (UNSW).

Title: Schools weather and air quality (SWAQ): where citizen science meets urban climate research.

When: 6:00 pm, 14 December 2018.

Where: Bureau of Meteorology, 16/300 Elizabeth St, Sydney

 

 

 

Last chance to register for Frontiers of Fluid Dynamics workshop

Friday 7 December is the last day to register for this interdisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Bureau of Meterology, the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, and UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Find out more: https://mathsforearth.com/fluids2018

When: 8:30am-5:30pm, 14 December 2018 (lunch provided).

Where: Bureau of Meteorology, 16/300 Elizabeth St, Sydney

Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/7iss25mObI29yaNx2 (Deadline 7 December)

Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics workshop

Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics is an interdisciplinary workshop that aims to bring together researchers in academia, industry, and government working on all aspects of environmental and applied fluid dynamics, including forecasting, atmosphere-ocean modeling, observations and experiments.

Abstracts are invited for oral and poster presentations. Registration is free and lunch is provided. Students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged. The workshop will be followed by the AMOS-NSW public lecture and a workshop dinner in neighboring Surry Hills (self-funded).

When: 8:30am-5:30pm, 14 December 2018 (lunch provided).

Where: Bureau of Meteorology, 16/300 Elizabeth St, Sydney

Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/7iss25mObI29yaNx2 (Deadline 7 December)

Invited speakers:

Plenary lecture (9:00am): “Ensemble ocean forecasting and other next generation developments: what are the likely impacts to defence and other applications in Australia and NSW?” Dr Gary Brassington (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

AMOS-NSW public lecture (6:00pm): “Schools weather and air quality (SWAQ): where citizen science meets urban climate research.” Dr Angela Maharaj (UNSW).

 

Sponsored by:

 

Matthew England

As a kid I grew up surfing and open water swimming every weekend here in Sydney and have been hooked on the oceans ever since. My first degree was in pure and applied mathematics but I quickly transitioned to oceanography during my PhD as I loved the sense of adventure and discovery that came with trying to understand how the ocean works.

Today I use computational models, observations, mathematical analyses and theory to study the dynamics of the oceans and their role in climate variability and climate change on time-scales ranging from seasons to millennia. I am interested in what makes our climate system tick, particularly the role played by the oceans and also sea-ice.

My work targets tropical climate modes, polar processes, the meridional overturning circulation and ocean heat uptake. While I dabble in paleoclimate problems (because they’re fascinating!), most of my time is spent studying present and future ocean processes and how they impact our climate system.

I supervise PhD projects in physical oceanography, atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions and climate dynamics. Specific projects can be tailored to fit the interests and skills of mathematics / physics graduates in the following topic areas: global water-mass formation, climate modes of variability, ocean ventilation, tropical and high-latitude climate dynamics, ocean drivers of climate variability and extremes, and global climate change.

Links:

Personal website
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes
UNSW Climate Change Research Centre
Articles on The Conversation

Follow me on Twitter @ProfMattEngland

Shane Keating interviewed on ABC Radio National about Montreal Protocol and climate change

Dr Shane Keating (UNSW Sydney) spoke on ABC Radio National Breakfast about the lessons the Montreal Protocol has for climate policy.

Check out the interview here.  Shane also recently wrote about this topic for The Conversation.

 

 

Erik Van Sebille to present seminar on ocean dispersion with applications to ocean plastic

Title:
Patterns in dispersion and accumulation of plastic litter by ocean currents and eddies
Speaker:
Erik van Sebille, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Date: 
Mon, 15/10/2018 – 4:00pm
Venue: 
RC-3085, The Red Centre, UNSW
Abstract
Ocean currents and eddies carry floating plastic litter from coastlines into the infamous garbage patches in the centres of the gyres. However, the time scales and pathways on which this happens are unknown. In order to assess the impact of the plastic, it is key to know where it gets carried through vulnerable ecosystems.
In this talk, Dr Van Sebille will first discuss how tracks of satellite-tracked drifting buoys can be used to create a Markov model of dispersion at the surface of the ocean. He will show that this simple model accurately simulates the formation of the garbage patches, and can be used as a quick and easy tool to assess pathways of floating stuff.
Dr Van Sebille will then introduce more complicated models of passive particulates in the ocean, based on a Lagrangian description of the flow field from high-resolution models. While Lagrangian particle tracking is widely used in oceanography to track tracers, here the challenge is to make the virtual particles actually ‘behave’ like plastic.
About the speaker: 

Erik is an oceanographer and climate scientist. His research focuses on how ocean currents transport heat, nutrients, marine organisms and plastic litter between different regions of the ocean.

He currently leads the “Tracking Of Plastic In Our Seas” (TOPIOS) project, funded by a 5-year (2017-2022) European Research Council Starting Grant.

Erik is the winner of the 2016 European Geosciences Union (EGU) Ocean Division Outstanding Young Scientist Award. In 2013, Erik was awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) by the Australian Research Council.

Erik is a strong science communicator, with appearances on international television, radio and newspapers. He was a Media Fellow with the Australian Government Climate Commission and has co-hosted a section on sea level rise in Tuvalu in the international documentary series Tipping Points. 

He is a sought-after international expert on oceanography, having done over 250 interviews on ocean circulation and plastic pollution with media outlets including CCNBBCNBCABC, New York TimesWall Street JournalGuardianTIME magazine, AP, and Reuters.

Erik also holds an honorary lectureship at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute

AMSI Summer School 2019 at UNSW Sydney

Australia’s largest national event for students in mathematical sciences will be held at UNSW Sydney in January 2019.

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Summer School is a four-week residential school providing students from across Australia with the opportunity to develop their mathematical skills, meet like-minded people, and network with potential future employers.

The AMSI Summer School 2019 program offers eight carefully selected subjects to ensure the latest developments in Australian maths are offered to students, some of which may not be offered at a home university. Students can choose to study one or two courses and, with permission from a home university, students can use an AMSI Summer School subject to gain credit towards their degree.

The School is primarily for honours and postgraduate students in the mathematical sciences and cognate disciplines, but other students are welcome to apply. Courses include

Visit the Summer School homepage for more details and to register.

Shane Keating

If you looked down on the ocean from space, you would see an intricate tapestry of mesoscale eddies , 30-300 km across, interwoven with submesoscale vortices and fronts on scales of 1-30 km, and surface waves and turbulence on scales smaller than 1 km. My research uses cutting-edge developments in the fields of applied mathematics, satellite remote sensing, and physical oceanography to understand the profound influence of these features on ocean circulation, climate, and marine ecology.

Using ultra-high-resolution observations from land, sea, and space, we are now beginning to unravel the ocean’s tapestry of eddies, fronts and waves and understand, model, and predict their role in mixing and dispersion in the ocean.

 

Links:

Personal website
UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes
Articles on The Conversation

Follow my on Twitter @science_shane

 

 

 

Jan Zika

The planet is getting warmer. The ocean plays a massive role. It is partly our friend because it is a huge heat bank and can slow down the rate of warming. But it can also fight back by lifting sea levels and making cyclones more powerful. It also suffers through damage to the biosphere. We probably know less about how the ocean works than we do about outer space, yet if we knew just a bit more it would really help us manage in the future.

Since Newton we’ve had a pretty good idea of how physical systems work – at least those that aren’t super tiny, close to absolute zero or travelling close to the speed of light. The ocean and atmosphere thankfully fall into that category. This means we can write down equations describing the climate and the challenge is solving them. Sometimes this involves a few scribbles on the back of an envelope, a few pages of careful sums or getting a super computer to process a few trillion calculations. In the end without maths we can neither understand how the climate works nor make accurate predictions about what might happen.

Links:

Personal website
UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics
ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes

Follow me on Twitter: @JanDZika

Worth waiting for: ARC grant success for Jan Zika and Matthew England

Dr Jan Zika (UNSW Mathematics & Statistics) and Prof Matthew England (UNSW Climate Change Research Centre) were awarded $1M in funding in today’s much-awaited announcement by the Australian Research Council. Their Discovery Projects will examine the role of ocean heat content in sea level change and rapid warming near in Antarctica.

jan-matt

Jan’s Discovery Project, “Ocean heat content change and its impact on sea level”, aims to improve projections of possible sea level changes. Poor understanding of the way in which heat is absorbed at the sea surface and distributed by ocean circulation is a leading source of uncertainty in projections of global surface temperature and regional sea level rise by the end of this century. The project, which is a collaboration with Professor John Church (UNSW), Professor Jonathan Gregory (University of Reading, UK), and Dr Xuebin Zhang (CSIRO), aims to transform our ability to predict how ocean temperature and sea level will change in the future.

Matt’s Discovery Project, “Risks of rapid ocean warming at the Antarctic continental margin”, aims to comprehensively understand the interconnected processes by which oceanic heat is circulated towards Antarctica. The risk of rapid ocean warming at the Antarctic margin is profound, with change already detected via deep ocean warming, land-ice melt, and ice shelf collapse. Matt’s project will use high-resolution global and regional ocean/sea-ice models better constrain future rates of ice melt around Antarctica by providing vital knowledge of the ocean processes, dynamics, and feedbacks relating to warm water intrusion onto the Antarctic continental shelf. The project is a collaboration with Dr Andrew Hogg (ANU), Dr Adele Morrison (ANU), Dr Paul Spence (UNSW) and Dr Stephen Griffies (Princeton University, USA).

Full details of today’s ARC grants announcement can be found here.

Upcoming public lecture by Princeton climate scientist Dr Stephen Griffies

Climate scientist and oceanographer Dr Stephen Griffies will deliver a public lecture at the AMSI Summer School at UNSW Sydney on Wednesday 30 January 2019.

Stephen Griffies has been at Princeton University and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory since 1993. His research spans a broad spectrum of fundamental and applied areas of ocean and climate science, including numerical modelling, mesoscale and submesoscale dynamics, turbulence parameterizations, Southern Ocean dynamics, Atlantic predictability and variability, sea level science, Lagrangian and watermass analyses, and foundations of ocean fluid mechanics. He is the 2014 recipient of the EGU Fridtjof Nansen medal for oceanographic excellence and is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

A Math/Physics View of Ocean Circulation

 

Abstract: Ocean circulation acts like bloodlines for the planet, moving heat, oxygen, carbon, and nutrients around the world. Furthermore, ocean circulation moderates climate: think of the different climates between a maritime region (Sydney) and a mid-continent region (Alice Springs). Ocean circulation thus affects life both on land and within the ocean. When the ocean circulation slows or speeds, the climate system is affected. Ocean and climate scientists aim to understand the physical mechanisms underlying changes in ocean circulation. What forces cause the changes? How predictable are they? To help answer these questions, oceanographers formulate mathematical equations for the governing physical laws and place the equations on supercomputers for grand simulations. In this talk I will offer a sampling of the research questions confronting ocean scientists who make use of mathematics, physics, and computer simulations. Some of the questions touch upon the most difficult questions facing humanity in the 21st century.

Date: Wednesday 30 January 2019
Time: 7.00pm – approximately 8.30pm (ADST) Light refreshments will be available from 6.00pm
Venue: The Science Theatre, F13, Union Road, The University of New South Wales, Kensington Campus, Sydney
Address: Gate 2, High Street, The University of New South Wales, Kensington
Cost: Free (Register online)

 

Upcoming oceanography talks at UNSW

International speakers from the US, France, and Norway will talk about their oceanography research at UNSW Sydney.

image.jpg

Bottom topography and oceanic variability

Joseph LaCasce (University of Oslo, Norway)
Wed, 14/11/2018 – 11:00am, RC-4082, The Red Centre, UNSW
002245sh97tez343%3Fts%3D1378367538000.jpg

On the improvement of mapping oceanic surface fields from satellite observations

Marine Roge (Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, France)
Thu, 15/11/2018 – 11:00am, RC-4082, The Red Centre, UNSW
RHE_0396_color

Observational and Modeling Study of Ocean Circulation, Air-Sea Interaction, and Biogeochemical Processes in the Northwest Atlantic Coastal Ocean

Dr Ruoying He (North Carolina State University, USA)
Fri, 16/11/2018 – 11:00am, RC-4082, The Red Centre, UNSW