Stokes’s Theorem, Data, and the Polar Ice Caps

Yuliy Baryshnikov, Robert Ghrist

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Geographers and climate scientists alike sometimes need to estimate the area of a large region on the surface of the Earth, such as the polar ice caps. Doing so using only a sequence of latitude–longitude data points along a piecewise-linear approximation of the boundary of the region can be accomplished via a novel use of Stokes’s theorem that generalizes classical and contemporary applications of Green’s theorem to data. The polar ice caps are seen to hide a complication that makes their estimation from data singularly interesting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-834
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Mathematical Monthly
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 21 2018


  • MSC: Primary 58C35

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics


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