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.

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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
In this question, all distances are measured in kilometres. 2 deep sea ocean current monitors, A and B, have position vectors (-1, 7, k)
A Level
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
2 deep sea ocean currents meet. By modelling one current as the positive y axis. a) Find the angle that the second current, with
A Level
a) Use the substitution (u = 4 – sqrt{s}) to show that [int_{}^{}frac{text{dh}}{4 – sqrt{s}} = – 8lnleft| 4 – sqrt{s} right| – 2sqrt{s}
A Level
Since 1800, the number of amphibian species, N, has been decreasing over time, t.  A simple model shows that the rate of decrease of
A Level
Human-induced global warming is causing deserts such as the Sahara to increase in surface area. In 1950 the area of the Sahara Desert was
A Level
During a particularly hot summer, the area of a small forest was reduced by fire. The area, Akm2, of the surviving forest is modelled
A Level
A small company is planting trees in areas of the Amazon rainforest that have been affected by forest fires. On any day, the cost
GCSE
Climate change affects the habitats and environments of many species, some of which won’t be able to adapt fast enough to survive in their
GCSE
The graph from the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows 3 different scenarios for how we could reduce biodiversity loss
GCSE
The increasing global temperature due to human-induced climate change is causing ice in the Arctic to melt, particularly over the summer season, July to
GCSE
Climate change can lead to species extinction through changing habitats rapidly, not leaving the species time to adapt. Warming at the moment is at
GCSE
Chocolate is made from a crop called cocoa, which grows on a tree. Cocoa trees are vulnerable to extreme weather events such as floods
GCSE
One way of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and slowing global warming is to plant trees which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
GCSE
Global warming will affect the world’s coral reefs. In a world heated by a global warming of 2°C, we will lose 99% of coral
GCSE
The table shows information about sea level rise due to human-induced climate change. (mm = millimetres). Sea level rise in 2006 (mm) Sea level
GCSE
Climate change (or global warming) can cause the areas of deserts (very dry land) to increase, affecting the surrounding wildlife and ecosystems. Before global
GCSE
The graph shows satellite measurements of global sea level rise since 2000 plotted relative to 1993. (sea level rise measured in mm = millimetres)
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