UCL Mathematics Green Team

Green UCL brings together students and staff in tackling the challenges of sustainability. Our Department has its own dedicated Green Team.

Mathematics Green Team Members

Sonya Crowe
TD Dang
Sam Harris
Edward Johnson

Feel free to chat to any of us about any green-related matters.

UCL's Sustainability Strategy

Please click here for UCL's Sustainability Strategy

UCL's Sustainability Annual Report

Please click here for UCL's Sustainability Annual Report 2019-20

Energy Use data for 25 Gordon Street

Please click here for information regarding energy usage data for 25 Gordon Street


Did you know that UCL has a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which sets out the objectives and actions for improving biodiversity on campus? You can support the College's biodiversity by taking part in planting sessions, surveys or suggesting locations for bee or bug hotels. 

Research in mathematics related to the environment and sustainability

1. Ocean and Atmosphere Dynamics

The primary tool in the study of climate change is the global climate model (GCM), a complicated computer simulation which allows us to make predictions for the future. There are many different components to the climate system-such as the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere (the frozen bits)-with complicated interactions between them. Non-scientific literature tends to focus on the role of the atmosphere however these other components are similarly important. For example, the ocean contains around 93% of the Earth's carbon dioxide and stores over 90% of the excess heat from global warming. Additionally, sea ice loss and the darkening of ice by carbon particles reduces the amount of sunlight reflected in polar regions, leading to a feedback mechanism which accelerates global warming. An understanding of the physics behind these processes is vital for building reliable GCMs.

Our work focusses on understanding various oceanic and atmospheric processes. These include; vortex dynamics, wave generation/breaking, boundary dynamics, ocean turbulence, fronts in the ocean/atmosphere, stratosphere-troposphere coupling and the global ocean circulation. We use a wide range of mathematical and computational techniques to solve both realistic and idealised problems.

2. Mathematical modelling of wildfire spread

UCL Wildfire
Wildfires are now, sadly, becoming increasingly common across the world. Devastating megafires in Australia and the USA capture the media’s attention each year, but there has also been a growing number of wildfires in the UK, especially in the moorlands. Predicting how a wildfire will spread is now more crucial than ever, to help mitigate the environmental, economic and human costs caused by these disasters. Yet wildfires are erratic and extremely volatile to changes in their surroundings - a change in the wind is the difference between life and death – so correctly accounting for all the variables is an ongoing challenge. Mathematically, this kind of problem is called a free boundary problem; the wildfire front, or “fire line”, is not (necessarily) constrained by barriers and so is free to move however it chooses. The study of my PhD is to investigate how the fire line will move and what factors influence the spread, with the aim of creating an accurate, low-cost simulation of the fire line propagation. The idea is to model the fire line as a two-dimensional closed curve, then use the method of conformal mapping to reduce the governing, nonlinear PDE into a system of solvable ODEs. This project calls upon knowledge from complex analysis, fluid dynamics and numerical methods, an example (one of many) of how various mathematical disciplines must come together in order to solve a very real-world problem.(see attached word document--it would be great to include one of the figures in the attachment and put it next to the written text, in particular the one taken from UCL)


3.   How mathematics can contribute to the climate change debate


Sustainability while working remotely


  • Create good ventilation for your laptop: this can be done by using a laptop stand, and making sure to regularly clear the fans of dust
  • Unplug your laptop once it is full of battery
  • Adjust your laptop settings so it goes into ‘sleep’ mode when left idle for a few minutes
  • Shut down your laptop when you’re not using it, and unplug it.

Giki zero personal carbon calculator


Recycling at UCL