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A SONG 
OF OUR 
WARMING 
PLANET Using music to communicate 
critical concepts in climate science 
Sco! St. George 
Daniel ...
GEOG1403 
BIOGEOGRAPHY OF THE GLOBAL 
GARDEN
CCLHIAMNAGTEE
Global temperature records are commonly represented as time series. 
°F 
1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 
59 
58.5 
58 ...
“ ” 
If you really want to 
communicate with 
someone, it’s best 
not to show a graph, 
but to express 
something artistic...
Daniel Crawford University of Minnesota
However, sometimes converting a simple graph 
into some different form of information can 
deliver the message far be!er, ...
GEOG1403 
BIOGEOGRAPHY OF THE GLOBAL 
GARDEN
Parts of the planet have warmed more rapidly than others since the 1880s. 
°C Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Stu...
violin I 
violin II 
viola 
cello
Planetary Bands, Warming World 
Daniel Crawford
Any geophysical time series can be expressed as music. 
°F 
1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 
59 
58.5 
58 
57.5 
57 
56...
How could anything 
be more scientific 
and mathematical 
than music? “ ” 
Commander Chris Hadfield 
November 12, 2014
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science
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A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science

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When climate science is communicated to the broader public, many of its key findings are shared in the form of conceptual diagrams or information-dense data graphics. In this collaboration, we applied a data sonification approach to express NASA’s global temperature record as a musical composition for the cello. The resulting piece, which we titled ‘A Song of Our Warming Planet’, transformed 133 years of annual global temperature anomalies into a haunting, atonal melody that stretched across almost all of the instrument’s range. Since its release in June 2013, the song has been featured by several national and international media outlets, including the New York Times, the Weather Channel, and National Public Radio, and its accompanying video has received more than 140,000 views from nearly every corner of the world. We are currently preparing a new composition for string quartet that will add a geographic dimension to describe both the pace and place of global warming. We believe the success of our initial sonification project is testament to the power of music to reach audiences who respond less enthusiastically to traditional methods used to communicate climate science. We also imagine this approach could be applied more broadly to allow students to create novel, visceral, and memorable encounters with other aspects of the geophysical sciences.

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A Song of Our Warming Planet: Using Music to Communicate Critical Concepts in Climate Science

  1. 1. A SONG OF OUR WARMING PLANET Using music to communicate critical concepts in climate science Sco! St. George Daniel Crawford Todd Reubold American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting | Connecting Geoscience with the Arts | December 15, 2014
  2. 2. GEOG1403 BIOGEOGRAPHY OF THE GLOBAL GARDEN
  3. 3. CCLHIAMNAGTEE
  4. 4. Global temperature records are commonly represented as time series. °F 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 59 58.5 58 57.5 57 56.5 56 Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  5. 5. “ ” If you really want to communicate with someone, it’s best not to show a graph, but to express something artistically. Commander Chris Hadfield November 12, 2014
  6. 6. Daniel Crawford University of Minnesota
  7. 7. However, sometimes converting a simple graph into some different form of information can deliver the message far be!er, and more effectively, than dots on a page. “ ” Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy July 18, 2013
  8. 8. GEOG1403 BIOGEOGRAPHY OF THE GLOBAL GARDEN
  9. 9. Parts of the planet have warmed more rapidly than others since the 1880s. °C Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  10. 10. violin I violin II viola cello
  11. 11. Planetary Bands, Warming World Daniel Crawford
  12. 12. Any geophysical time series can be expressed as music. °F 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 59 58.5 58 57.5 57 56.5 56 Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  13. 13. How could anything be more scientific and mathematical than music? “ ” Commander Chris Hadfield November 12, 2014

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