Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Mathematician on Ice," by Ivars Peterson. Science News, 12 August2000, pages 106-108.

Applied mathematician Kenneth Golden braves the polar elements to observe inreality what his mathematics models: Antarctic sea ice. Because its crystallinestructure can't incorporate salt molecules, the sea ice is riddled with pocketsof briny water and air. When the temperature rises enough---to above - 5degrees Centigrade---these pockets of brine grow larger and connect intochannels, eventually creating geyser-like spouts of liquid above the icesurface. Golden recently completed his fourth voyage to the Antarctic todetermine how the brine channels form and to improve his model of the brinetransport process. Fully understanding sea ice structure and change would leadto more accurate climate models and a better understanding of global climatechange.

--- Kathryn Leonard

American Mathematical Society