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What Climate Change Sounds Like When Put to Music

Have you ever wondered what our changing climate might sound like? Daniel Crawford, an undergraduate, and geography professor Scott St. George, from the University of Minnesota, have turned what is happening with our climate into music.

Crawford said:

But visual representations are not the only way we can chart the geography of global warming.

“The composition is based on surface temperature analysis from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The composition Planetary Bands, Warming World uses music to create a visceral encounter with more than a century’s worth of weather data collected across the northern half of the planet. (The specific dataset used as the foundation of the composition was the Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies Zonal annual means.)” wrote Ensia magazine.

The piece features performances by students Julian Maddox, Jason Shu, Alastair Witherspoon, and Nygel Witherspoon from the University of Minnesota’s School of Music.

Image: Screenshot/Vimeo

The string quartet performing ‘Planetary Bands:Warming World.’ (Screenshot/Vimeo)

Crawford explains in the video: “Each instrument represents a specific part of the Northern Hemisphere. The cello matches the temperature of the equatorial zone. The viola tracks the mid-latitudes. The two violins separately follow temperatures in the high latitudes and in the Arctic.”

Through music, the composition bridges the divide between logic and emotion, St. George says.

“Listening to the violin climb almost the entire range of the instrument is incredibly effective at illustrating the magnitude of change—particularly in the Arctic which has warmed more than any other part of the planet,” wrote Ensia magazine.

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