Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Making Waves," by Eugenie Samuel Reich. New Scientist, 29 November 2003,pages 30-33.

This article discusses ideas of an atomspheric physicist who believes that theaccuracy of mathematical models used for weather prediction could be improvedby injecting the models with a dose of randomness. The phenomenon that led himto this idea is known as inertia-gravity waves, which are produced as theearth's gravitational field drags the atmosphere around. His experiments withliquids spinning in a bucket "have convinced him that forecasters shouldreplace some of the painstakingly calculated values of temperature and pressurein their models with random numbers to stand in for the unknown effect ofinertia-gravity waves."

--- Allyn Jackson

American Mathematical Society