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.

GCSE
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
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 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
A homeowner wishes to cover their roof with solar panels. Their roof can be modelled as a prism with volume 24m3 The height of
GCSE
Below is a diagram of 3 offshore wind turbines, A, B and C, in a wind farm, as seen from above. Given that the
GCSE
The graph shows satellite measurements of global sea level rise since 2000.  (mm = millimetres) a) Draw a line of best fit through the
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
Cars and transport, and the gases and particulates that they emit from their exhausts have a serious effect on the environment and on human
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 annual fishing catch. In a world heated by a global warming of 2°C, the annual fishing catch will
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)
GCSE
As the atmosphere warms, the air holds more water vapour, and this could lead to more intense rainfall events, resulting in an increased flood
GCSE
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
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
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