There is no need to be a mathematician in order to fight against climate change. Furthermore, it is very likely that there are better careers if you are aiming to do that. Nevertheless, it turns out that mathematics is one of the few things I know how to do. Being particularly concerned with climate change, I was wondering if my training as a mathematician (in fact, I have a PhD in pure/abstract mathematics) could allow me to tackle this problem. More precisely, I was wondering if it is possible to fight against climate change for a living as a mathematician.

Whether differential geometry can be used for research on climate change was asked here (not answered though). However, I am not restricting to differential geometry nor academia. Actually, differential geometry is not my field of expertise and I prefer not to work in academia since I would like to have more control on the city/country where I live.

I talked a bit about my background and personal preferences, but I believe someone under slightly different circumstances could also be interested in this topic. Hence, ideas not matching all my requirements will also be appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ Atm working in the home office instead of the Institute. $\endgroup$
    – Wuestenfux
    Aug 10, 2021 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ You might look toward working at a national lab or NASA where there is weather data collection, mining, and modeling. Fluid dynamics is a challenging field, and computational weather prediction is a challenge too. Same goes for predicting long-time global trends. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2021 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ You may find some ideas here: azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/HomePage $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2021 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ ... and consider immersing yourself in learning the concepts underlying the thermodynamics of simple and complex systems as well as macroeconomics. This might give you the lead-in you're looking for. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2021 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ In addition to the suggestions of @Aruralreader regarding where you work, the subject matter of statistics is already relevant to various application areas, and data science is also finding its way there, I suppose this will also hold for the application to climate change. Coincidentally, I believe there are applications of geometry in data science, but certainly there are links with various other topics such as algorithm development which in turn borrows from many math topics $\endgroup$
    – Bart
    Aug 10, 2021 at 15:43

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For example in the town where I am right now (Victoria, BC, Canada) there are https://www.pacificclimate.org/ and https://pics.uvic.ca/research, both with the explicit goal to not just stay within academia, but to collaborate with the private sector as well as local, provincial and federal policy-making. A quick glance through their projects and research should show that a mathematical background, even in pure mathematics, would be very helpful for this, and they would presumably be happy to have you. I know several people who work in that area who "came from" pure mathematics (in one case, even logic) but quickly learned the statistical and data-analysis tools to switch into this -- and certainly brought in fresh ideas from whatever background they had. I am quite sure that in many places, at least in North America and Europe, there are similar research groups, institutes and initiatives. To answer your question better, you would have to narrow down where you are and where you want to go.


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