#### Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

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July 31, 2024
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# The Hottest Day Ever: Applying Probability to Understand Climate Extremes

The world experienced its hottest day ever recorded on July 21, 2024, according to a report by Reuters. This unprecedented heatwave presents another opportunity for us to explore how mathematical concepts, like probability, can help us understand and address extreme weather events.

### Revisiting the Concept of Probability

Last year, we discussed the application of probability in the context of climate events in our blog post, "Hot Math: A Nice Opportunity to Apply Probability to Current Events." This post highlighted how mathematical probability can provide a framework for understanding the likelihood of extreme weather events and their potential impacts.

Probability, in essence, is a measure of the likelihood that an event will occur. It is a fundamental concept in statistics and mathematics that allows us to make predictions based on available data. When applied to climate science, probability helps us assess the risks and frequencies of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms, and droughts.

### Understanding the Recent Heatwave Through Probability

To grasp the significance of the hottest day ever recorded, we can delve into the probability of such an event occurring. Climate scientists use historical temperature data and advanced climate models to calculate the likelihood of extreme temperature events. These models take into account various factors, including greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric conditions, and historical climate patterns.

The record-breaking heat of July 21, 2024, can be analyzed through these probabilistic models. By comparing historical temperature data with current trends, scientists can determine how unusual this event is and predict the likelihood of similar events in the future. This approach not only helps in understanding the current climate crisis but also aids in developing strategies to mitigate its impact.

### The Role of Data and Technology

Advancements in data collection and technology have significantly enhanced our ability to predict and analyze extreme weather events. Satellite imagery, remote sensing, and sophisticated climate models provide a wealth of data that can be used to refine probabilistic forecasts. This data-driven approach is crucial for making informed decisions about climate adaptation and mitigation.

### Practical Applications in Education

For educators and students, the recent heatwave presents a valuable real-world example of how mathematical concepts like probability can be applied to current events. Incorporating such examples into the curriculum can make abstract mathematical ideas more tangible and relevant. By analyzing real data and exploring the mathematical models used in climate science, students can gain a deeper understanding of both mathematics and environmental science.

For more insights into how probability and other mathematical concepts can be applied to current events, revisit our previous post on Hot Math and check out this math module with an analysis of the quality of probabilistic forecasts, such as weather forecasting.

# Written by

### COMAP

The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.