A Song of Our Warming Planet


Daniel Crawford, a University of Minnesota undergrad, has found a new way to represent data about climate change. Instead of using graphs, or diagrams, Crawford uses something many of us would not expect–music. This approach–known as data sonification–converts global temperature data into musical notes. Each note represents a year and higher pitches are warmer temperatures and lower pitches are cooler temperatures. While perhaps this piece isn’t going to win any awards for the music itself–though it is not bad to listen to–Crawford’s method suggests that data can have different impacts when looked at in different ways. The video above claims that by the end of the century, if we continued the Song of Our Warming Planet to reflect this data, the earth would have warmed so much that it would produce a series of notes that are beyond human hearing. I think that a statement like that is really powerful, perhaps even more powerful than another graph or chart. Crawford claims that he’s trying to “add another tool” to the climate change “toolbox,” and I think what he has found is an extremely powerful and provocative tool.


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