•  
  •  
 

Publication Date

2-13-2019

Keywords

Climate change, bifurcation diagram, hysteresis

Disciplines

Climate | Dynamical Systems | Mathematics | Non-linear Dynamics | Ordinary Differential Equations and Applied Dynamics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

The environmental phenomenon of climate change is of critical importance to today's science and global communities. Differential equations give a powerful lens onto this phenomenon, and so we should commit to discussing the mathematics of this environmental issue in differential equations courses. Doing so highlights the power of linking differential equations to environmental and social justice causes, and also brings important science to the forefront in the mathematics classroom. In this paper, we provide an extended problem, appropriate for a first course in differential equations, that uses bifurcation analysis to study climate change. Specifically, through studying hysteresis, this problem highlights how it may be the case that damage done to the environment by a small change cannot be reversed merely by undoing that small change. In addition to the problem itself, we elaborate on the mathematics, discuss implementation strategies, and provide examples of student work. Students in a mathematics classroom do not necessarily expect to confront such issues of social justice or environmental concerns, but we see it as our moral obligation as educators to include such lessons in our classes so that our students can become well-informed global citizens.

DOI

10.5642/codee.201912.01.01

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.