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Organizing committee:
Seth Stein, Northwestern, chair (earth sciences)
David A. Yuen, University of Minnesota (earth sciences)
Maarten V. De Hoop, Purdue University (mathematics and earth sciences)
Ridgway Scott, University of Chicago (mathematics)
Jared Wunsch, Northwestern (mathematics)
Michael Stein, University of Chicago (statistics)
Peter Constantin, University of Chicago (mathematics)
Raymond Pierrehumbert, University of Chicago (earth sciences)
John Schotland, University of Michigan (mathematics and physics )
Mary Silber, Northwestern (applied math)
Logistics: Allison Witt-Janssen, Shelley Levine, Tim Johnson,
Reid Wellensiek (NU)
Projection and video: Mike Knox,Jack Zhou,Chris Gonzalez,
Dave Sanchez, Chris Spencer (Minnesota )
NSF support: Junping Wang (DMS); Robin Reichlin (EAR)
Over the past two decades the geosciences have acquired a wealth of high quality data from
new and greatly improved observing systems. Because this volume of data poses a major
challenge for traditional analysis methods, only a fraction of its potential has been exploited.
Similarly, although numerical simulations of earth processes are being common, much
remains to be learned about how well these simulations reflect the real world or the model
they simulate. Hence neither the data nor the modeling are being used to their full potential,
leaving crucial questions unresolved.
This situation arises in a wide range of areas including natural hazards, earthquake and
volcano dynamics, earth structure & geodynamics, climate & weather, and planetary science.
Making progress in part calls for the application of mathematical and statistical
methods not currently used, which requires a deeper and long-term dialogue and
interaction between the mathematical, statistical, and geoscience communities. This
workshop, part of such ongoing efforts, seeks to help earth scientists, mathematicians,
and statisticians identify and explore jointly crucial unsolved problems amenable to
mathematical approaches not currently used.
This seems feasible if these groups develop a long-term relationship giving each
reasonable sophistication with the others’ language, problems, and techniques. To set
the stage, the workshop will illustrate some areas in which collaborative efforts are
likely to yield significant advances.
Understanding earth systems:
development and validity of theoretical models, mathematical
foundations (analysis, topology, geometry, ..)
Computation of processes in earth systems -- digital laboratory:
accuracy, stability, very large systems, solution procedures
(numerical analysis, numerical linear algebra, computational
geometry, visualization, ..)
Characterization, uncertainty quantification, data requirements:
common data model, fusion, exploiting nonlinear physical
phenomena, new sensors? (inverse problems, ..)
Predicting earth system evolution:
hazards, mechanisms, interface with (geo)biology, human interface
(dynamical systems, high-dimensional problems, learning theory?, ..)
Multi-scale analysis, stochastic analysis:
processes on all scales, catastrophes, extreme events, ..,
comparative analysis across systems
To date, now ending:
NSF Collaboration in Mathematical Geosciences (CMG)
Future possibilities:
NSF Mathematical Sciences Institute
NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability
(SEES) research network to “engage and explore fundamental
theoretical issues and empirical questions in sustainability
science, engineering, and education”
Research Networks in the Mathematical Sciences (RNMS)
Private sector and/or foundations
Monday: student oriented lectures
Tuesday - Thursday: keynote presentations to catalyze
Thursday - informal presentations
Tuesday-Thursday following presentations: group
discussions of needs and possible future programs
Outcome: Start white paper on needs & programs
Continental breakfast & lunches at meeting room
Dinner at nearby restaurants (map in booklet)
Seismic imaging experiment Wednesday after lectures
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Our meeting site illustrates Earth’s
warming climate
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Great Lakes Atlas
GPS shows motion today due to ancient
ice sheet
Canada rises & US sinks
Sella et al., 2007
Rate & pattern reflect ice
load history & mantle
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• Characterizing the earth system from observations:
What data are needed?
What analysis methods need to be improved?
• Understanding earth system dynamics:
How well do the numerical implementations of these models
perform? (verification)
How well do models simulate the physical system? (validation)
• Predicting earth system evolution:
How well can we predict processes and hazards?
How confident are we about the predictions?
These are challenging intellectual questions with major
societal significance
24 Satellites
5-8 overhead most of the world
Transmit radio signals
Receivers on ground record
signals and find their position
from the time the signals arrive
Positions used in many
For tectonics, find motions
from changes in position over
Stein & Wysession, 2003

PowerPoint - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences