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Student creates music from global warming data

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Posted at 8:59 PM, Jul 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-19 21:01:23-04

University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford came up with a novel approach to illustrate scientific data showing how climate change is warming our planet.

He used a technique called data sonification to convert global temperature records into a series of musical notes.

Crawford based his composition, “A Song of Our Warming Planet,”  on surface temperature data from NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. The temperature data were mapped over a range of three octaves, with the coldest year on record (–0.47 °C in 1909) set to the lowest note on the cello (open C). Each ascending halftone is equal to roughly 0.03°C of planetary warming.

In Crawford’s composition, each note represents a year, ordered from 1880 to 2012. The pitch reflects the average temperature of the planet relative to the 1951–80 base line. Low notes represent relatively cool years, while high notes signify relatively warm ones.

Click here to read more on his work