The environment seems boundless and inexplicable in essence. While many endeavour to explain its purpose in biological and ecological terms, there is no definite answer to this mystery. We, in the capacity of curious species, try to understand environmental issues through the lens of scientists closest to nature—environmentalists—but not many try to find solutions to environmental issues with the help of mathematics.Numbers are inanimate designs that can be easily reproduced on paper, but they hold the immense power to crack the most difficult problems in the world including environmental issues. Thus, in this article, we have come with five different ways by which mathematics can help in resolving environmental issues.
So, let us save the world with the help of numbers!
- Supercomputers and their magic
We already know the gigantic potential supercomputers have bestowed in them. They can do nearly everything that can be possibly undertaken by computers. Year by year, supercomputers are advancing and becoming more apt in dealing with amultitude of problems, and all of this occurs because of mathematics.
Technological improvements are made with the help of algorithms, quantum computing, etc and clearly, it is a game of numbers. These benefits have been employed in ensuring optimum performance of computers, saving energy and putting less pressure on natural resources. Take for example the Cray Supercomputer which operates on 2.7 MW of electricity and, therefore, consumes less energy than ordinary computer systems.
- Tackling change head-on
Mathematicians areequipped with knowledge of probability, statistics, series, and every other area which has some bearing on estimation and prediction of patterns. These people make thebest use of their acumen in determining the probability of floods, heat waves and any other changes in weather patterns, and this way they help policy-makers in coming up with exigency plans.
Similarly, businesses value information on climate change, especially food industry since it is extremely reliant on agriculture. Estimates may help businessmen to prepare themselves with necessary plans to deal with the after-effects of the changes.
- Development of novel technologies
Environmental protection is now heavily dependent upon technology, and if eco-friendly technologies are not produced, then we are bound to doom. Keeping this inmind, mathematicians are employed for contributing to the making of such technologies. For instance, Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) is an amazing technology which locks away harmful greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuel in power stations.
Comprehensive mathematical models are created to further sophisticated research on environmental issues. These models are crafted with the help of logistical methods, statistical modelling, network analysis and other relevant mathematical tools.
- Best use of renewable energy sources
Environmentalists and researchers are burning themidnight oil in order to come up with various ways to protect and preserve non-renewable energy sources, and one of the areas where thefocus is mostly given is in designing sophisticated methods to make thebest use of renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy sources, for example, are wind energy, solar energy and tidal energy. These sources can be renewed and are essentially inexhaustible, unlike non-renewable sources such as coal. For extracting the maximum potential of renewable sources, mathematicians help in solving the glitches associated in the management of renewable sources such as cost and operational efficiency. They make acontributionto research and ensure that network implements higher proportion of renewable sources of energy.
- Better climate models and weather forecasts
There is no gainsaying that weather conditions have an impact on theenvironment. One of the direct consequences of environmental imbalance is weather change, and when weather conditions change, theimpact can be felt on industries and life forms. It, therefore, becomes extremely important to predict weather changes and study climate patterns, and that is where mathematicians play a key role.
Mathematicians work on sets of equations, accounting pressure, humidity and temperature. Global Circulation Models (GCMs) explain the interactions occurring between atmosphere and oceans to study average weather conditions, and they do this job with the help of numbers.