Math 483
Mathematical Modeling
Spring 2017 Topic: Climate Modeling

Global climate change is one of the most serious problems facing humanity.  Climate science is a rapidly expanding, interdisciplinary field, with increasing participlation by mathematicians (see for example, Mathematics of Planet Earth, 2013). The main topic this semester will be climate modeling, with emphasis on low dimensional models of the atmosphere and oceans. Topics include: Energy Balance Models, Oceans and Climate, Introduction to Dynamical Systems, Fourier transforms, Radiative transfer, Hydrodynamics, Elementary Thermodynamics, and other topics as time permits.

Class Meetings              Monday & Wednesday, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., Chaparral Hall 5117

Math 340 and Math 351 (or Math 280)

There will be two midterm exams, each worth 20%, and a final exam worth 40% of the grade.  Homework  will constitute 20% of the grade.  Plus (+) and minus (–) grades will be assigned for this course.  The date of the midterms will be announced in class. 

Final Exam: Monday, May 15, 2017, 12:45 to 2:45 p.m.

Primary: Mathematics & Climate, Hans Kaper, Hans Engler, SIAM 2013
Coverage: Chapters 1-5, 11-15, and 19 as time permits.

Secondary: Capitalism & Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming, David Klein, illustrated by Stephanie McMillan (free pdf download from link)

Instructor Information

David Klein
Santa Susana Hall,  Room 127  
Phone: (818) 677-7792
email:, web page:
Office Hours: MW 2 to 3 p.m. & by Appointment

Additional References

Global Warming: Understanding the Forcast, by David Archer

Global Physical Climatology,
by Dennis Hartman
Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, by M.L. Salby

Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey, by Wallace and Hobbs

An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, by D. G. Andrews

Elementary Climate Physics, by F.W. Taylor

Entropy Production of the Earth System, CSUN M.S. Thesis by Suanne Oh

Online Resources

Climate Overview: Powerpoint from first class meeting

CSUN Climate Science Program:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Real Climate

    Dynamics sites (for Chap 14)

    Laboratory Demonstrations of Planetary-Style Fluid Dynamics, from Spin-Lab at UCLA

    Perpetual Ocean: NASA simulation of worldwide ocean currents

Exam dates and Homework Assignments

Assignment 1: click here.  Due Wed, Feb 8
Assignment 2: click here.  Due Wed, Feb 15
Assignment 3: Math & Climate, Chap 2, problems: 11, 12, 14; Due Wed, Feb 29
Assignment 4: Math & Climate, Chap 3, problem: 3; Chap 4, problems: 3, 4, 11, 12 i), ii), iii); Due Wed, March 15

Exam 1  Wed, March 29

Assignment 5: click here.  Due Wed, April 5
Assignment 6: Math & Climate, Chap 11, problems: 1, 7(i), (ii), (iii), Due Wed, April 19
Assignment 7: Math & Climate, Chap 12, problems: 1, 12, Due Wed, April 26
Assignment 8: Math & Climate, Chap 13, problems: 2, 3, 4, Due Wed, May 3

Exam 2  Mon, May 8

Extra Credit Assignment (up to 30 weighted homework points):  Read Part II of Capitalism & Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming, and then write a short essay (2 to 4 pages) that describes some features (not necessarily a complete description) of a sustainable political/economic system for the U.S. or the world that you think would help humanity to avoid a climate catastrophe. Include specific references to Capitalism & Climate Change Due Thursday at noon sharp, May 18.  Send a pdf copy of your essay via email:

Final Exam: Monday, May 15, 2017, 12:45 to 2:45 p.m.