Maths for Planet Earth: Climate Based Questions for students and teachers

A team of students and academics at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, and Department of Physics, University of Oxford, developed the Maths for Planet Earth questions. They work on climate and energy issues and are passionate about inspiring young people to join the fight against climate change.

Start exploring

• Clear

The world needs brainy mathematicians to help tackle climate change.

The aim of these questions is to integrate climate change into the school curriculum beyond the usual suspects of geography and environmental science.

These questions closely follow example problems from GCSE and A level past exams and were developed using existing exam questions. The maths skills tested in the question remained unchanged, but the context of the question was adapted to a climate change theme.

A Level
Wiring up a Net-Zero Home
A homeowner decides to make their house carbon-neutral. They place solar panels on the roof, which then connect o their mains circuit via a
A Level
Mountainside Monitoring
3 CO₂ monitors K, L and M are placed on a mountain side The vector (overrightarrow{text{KL}} = 3mathbf{i -}6mathbf{k}) and (overrightarrow{text{LM}} = 2mathbf{i} +
A Level
A Climate Aware Citizen
A person decides in 2020 that they want to completely eradicate their carbon footprint in 20 months. Following this decision, they begin to use
A Level
City Emission Levels
The emissions of a city from 2000 to 2012 are modelled by the equation (pleft( t right) = frac{1}{10}lnleft( t + 1 right) –
A Level
A Carbon Conscious Company
The curve [y = e^{-0.5x} + 4x – 0.1x^{2} + 2] Can be used to describe a company’s net emissions, in tons of CO2,
A Level
UK Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The rate of CO2 emissions for the UK was measured every 5 years, from 1990 to 2015. The results are given in the table
A Level
Finding the Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions from 1850
The graph below shows how the rate of CO2 emissions varies from 1800 to 2017. This curve can be approximated as (E = 1.5e^{0.02t})
A Level
Storing Sequestrates
A manufacturer produces a tank for storing liquid CO2 underground. The tank is modelled in the shape of a hollow vertical circular cylinder closed
A Level
A Total Emissions Goal
The warming caused by carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions over any given period is proportional to the total amount of CO₂ emitted over that period.
A Level
A Carbon Negative Company
A small company’s carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions since 2000 can be modelled using the parametric equations [12x = t, y = 8t – 4.9t^{2}
A Level
The graph shows the rate of CO2 emissions per year since 1800. A climate scientist thinks that a quadratic curve could be fitted to
GCSE
Annual Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The table below shows information about the annual CO2 emissions from 140 cities. a) Work out an estimate for the mean CO2 emissions across
GCSE
There Is No Planet B
Here is a pie chart taken from Mike Berners-Lee’s book There is no Planet B.  a) Calculate angle x. (shown on graph in the
GCSE
UK Energy Usage
The table gives information about how the UK used its energy in 2017. CREDS calculations based on BEIS (2018) Sector Percentage of UK energy
GCSE
CCS Container
Carbon capture and storage is method of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as a liquid underground. Carbon capture and storage
GCSE
A New Power Station
A new kind of gas-fired power station releases on average 1.73×104 kg of pure carbon dioxide (CO2) every day. It also uses the heat
GCSE
Trucking Company’s Carbon Increase
Jean owns a trucking company (with ten trucks) which produces 1062.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the year 2015. The company’s carbon emissions increase
GCSE
Graphing Rising Temperatures
The temperature-time graph from https://globalwarmingindex.org/ shows how the Earth’s global average monthly temperatures have varied from the year 1880. Throughout this question, monthly global
GCSE
Rates of Human Induced Warming
The graph below shows how temperature has varied with time. The grey line shows monthly temperatures and the orange line shows an estimate of
GCSE
IPCC Carbon Dioxide Predictions
The graph, from the IPCC 1.5 Report, shows how the rate of carbon dioxide emissions couldfall between 2020 and 2040, or between 2020 and