Friday, October 11, 2013

Recap: Sea Ice, Climate and Observational Mathematics

Last night was an incredible installment of the New England Aquarium Fall Lecture Series, during which climate scientist, John Wettlaufer, explained the complexities of studying fluctuations in arctic ice.  Here are my top 6 takeaways from the event:

1. Earth and climate science is based largely on observation and modeling rather than experimentation.

2. A layer of ice about 2.5 meters thick stays frozen all year round, and this ice is very important for regulating the planet's climate. 

3. Albedo is the term used to describe the reflectivity of ice. 

4. Ice is important to the earth not only because of sea levels, but because of albedo for reflecting the sun's radiation. 

5. Correctly modeling climate is difficult because there are so many different variables. 

6. When creating models to predict the future using all of these variables it is important to remember that: Things need to be simple enough that they can be analyzed thoroughly, but complex enough that the results approach reality.

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