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Modeling Ice Melt Using Fractals

Geoffrey Giller writes for Scientific American about a talk Ken Golden gave at the National Museum of Mathematics about modeling sea ice melt.

Sea ice is both a leading indicator of climate change and a key player in it, since it reflects sunlight, so models attempting to project temperatures and weather patterns into the future need to take sea ice into consideration.

Golden has studied the dynamics of the melting ice on many scales, showing, for instance, that the ponds that form on the surface of sea ice as it melts can be treated like fractals. He suspects that down the road the mathematical concepts he has applied to sea ice will coalesce into a broader understanding of it. "I kind of smell something universal," he says.

Read Giller's story.

Start Date: 
Tuesday, April 8, 2014