By Dan Crisan, Imperial College, London, UK
Climate change research involves the study of complex physical systems. In order to describe the associated models, an acute familiarity with meteorology, oceanography, biochemistry, ecology, and rheology is needed. Furthermore, producing stable numerical schemes for the governing partial differential equations requires expertise in mathematical analysis, and translating them into efficient code for massively parallel systems calls for advanced knowledge in low-level code optimization, automatic code generation, and computer architectures. The development of such software is a multidisciplinary undertaking. The Firedrake finite element package has been designed to provide an open-source application tool for specialists and researchers interested in meteorology, oceanography, and climate science. With an emphasis on the computational modelling of atmospheric flows, and featuring detailed examples and tutorials, the new book: Compatible Finite Element Methods for Geophysical Flows, by Thomas H. Gibson, Andrew T. T. McRae, Colin J. Cotter, Lawrence Mitchell and David A. Ham, makes use of Firedrake to document the science behind geophysical fluid dynamics.
Dan Crisan is Professor of Mathematics at the Department of Mathematics of Imperial College London and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Mathematics of Planet Earth, and one of the Editors-in-Chief for the series SpringerBriefs in Mathematics of Planet Earth.
Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center ISS060-E-47508