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Magnetic Materials Help Explain How Arctic Ice Melts

Jul 09, 2019   |   WIRED

"Kenneth Golden [D'80], a mathematician at the University of Utah, was perusing images of Arctic sea ice when he noticed a pattern that seemed familiar," writes WIRED. "When seen from above, the melting sea ice looked like a field of white mottled with dark splotches where the ice had turned to liquid. To Golden it seemed awfully similar to the arrangement of atoms in a magnetic material. There’s no obvious reason for magnets to have a relationship with aerial photos of ice, but the thought stuck with him. More than a decade later, this intuition has finally solidified into a model that could be used to better predict the effects of climate change on sea ice.

... "Donald Perovich, a geophysicist at Dartmouth, who’s familiar with Golden’s research, saw an immediate way to connect the model to his own upcoming Arctic work. 'This model is helping us inform what kind of observations we'll make, and then those observations in turn can be used to evaluate this model.'

"Besides the applicability, Perovich also finds a deeper value in the model. 'I think it's kind of amazing how math provides a window to understanding the world around us,' he says."

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