Global Warming and Groundwater Modules by Victor Padron

Engaging Mathematics partner Victor Padron of Normandale Community College recently participated in the workshop Teaching Geoscience with MATLAB, hosted by Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

Victor reports that his experience in the workshop was very interesting and motivating. He developed two teaching modules for this workshop that are available to the public through a web repository of educational resources sponsored by the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College.

Here are the names of his modules with the corresponding links and summaries:

Global Warming, A Zonal Energy Balance Model


This is a teaching module, directed to undergraduate students in applied mathematics, introducing a Zonal Energy Balance Model to describe the evolution of the latitudinal distribution of Earth’s surface temperature subject to incremental levels of cumulative carbon emissions in the atmosphere. A strategy to avert “dangerous levels” of global warming is imbedded in the model. Students working with the module will write a MATLAB script to solve the model numerically and apply it with their own choice of the relevant parameters to obtain the solution that guarantee controlled levels of global warming.


This is a teaching module presenting an introduction to modeling ground water pollution, directed to undergraduate students in applied mathematics. It begins with a brief discussion of Darcy’s law concerning the flow of a fluid through a porous medium. A mathematical model that uses field data to track ground-water contamination is presented. Students working with the module will write a MATLAB script to obtain a numerical solution of the model and apply it to investigate a real event of groundwater pollution.
Photo credit: Gerard Van der Leun (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)