listen to climate change in music thanks to a Japanese researcher!

listen to climate change in music thanks to a Japanese researcher!
listen to climate change in music thanks to a Japanese researcher!
Hirota Nagai transformed physical and weather data collected in the Arctic and Antarctica into 6 minutes of music, to make people feel the effects of climate change (photo IA).
Anthony Kaczmarek Anthony Kaczmarek 03/05/2024 06:00 4 mins

What’s better than the music to alert, to move, to raise awareness and provoke a reaction? This is the message that we wish to convey in any case the geo-scientist and musician Hirota Nagai, creating a piece of over 6 minutes representing 40 years of climate change. You won’t believe your ears!

A string quartet based on polar data

The research project that led to this unpublished musical composition was published on April 18 in the journal iScience : it is concretely a string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello) entitled No.1, Polar Energy Budgetwhose piece longer than 6 minutes is available on YouTube, as you can listen to it below (performed in 2023 in Tokyo).

youtube video id=Tulsx2wt3qU

It is thanks to “sonification” process that this astonishing score could have been written: Hirota Nagai translated data into musical notes using a computer program relating to the solar radiationAt infrared radiation of the atmosphereto the surface temperaturehas the thickness of the clouds and to precipitation.

They discover that cloud engineering can act as an effective painkiller against global warming!

They discover that cloud engineering can act as an effective painkiller against global warming!

Each element corresponds a tone, which evolves over 40 years of climate change. The data collected was between 1982 and 2022 in 4 locations located in polar zones : an observation site on the Greenland ice sheet, a satellite communications facility in Svalbard, and two research stations in Antarctica.

Better feel the exchanges of energies

Why did you choose physical and weather data from the polar regions, rather than a patchwork of weather records representative of the entire planet? Just because Hirota Nagai based his musical composition on the concept of polar energy balance.

According to him, since polar regions are even more sensitive than others to the effects of global warmingthey allow better reveal its profound effectsjust like those of solar energy.

He believes that it’s not all about temperature: behind the warming would be hidden “complex mechanisms of energy exchange”disrupted by the increase in greenhouse gases.

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Since we are constantly talking (and that’s good) about global warming, Hirota Nagai wanted to make the whole world feel the effects of this on the planet and its biodiversity. And what could be better than the universal language of music for this? This is also the path taken by NASA, which has already “sonified” astronomical elements such as galaxies.

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