Earth System Music

Lee de Mora

PML, Plymouth

Have you ever wondered how a simulation of the climate system would sound?

As part of the UKESM project, I converted some CMIP6 simulations time series data into musical notes, then played them through a digital keyboard. Using this method, I produced six musical pieces:

1. Earth system allegro – this piece was the first piece in the series and demonstrates the concept of musification of model data using some key metrics describing the behaviour of the model in the southern ocean using data from the historical and the SSP1 2.6 (Paris Agreement) scenario.

2. Pre-industrial vivace – a fast paced piece introducing the concept of the pre-industrial control run. This joyful piece in C-major shows simulations of the ocean in the absence of human-induced climate change.

3. Sea surface temperature Aria – a slow-paced piece in A minor which shows the impact of the industrial revolution on the Mean Sea Surface temperature.

4. Ocean Acidification in E minor – this piece shows the relationship between the global mean dissolved inorganic carbon and pH in the surface ocean using data from the preindustrial control and every UKESM CMIP6 historical run. It also demonstrates how the historical simulations branch from the preindustrial control. The music follows a familiar twelve bar blues pattern in E minor.

5. Giant steps spin up – this piece introduces the concept of the model spin up to a wider audience, and the music follows the chord progression of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps an infamous and challenging jazz standard.

6. Seven levels of climate change – this piece repeats the same time period (1975-2100) under 7 different climate change scenarios. The musical style is arranged such that the anthropogenic impact increases along with the complexity of the harmonic composition.

These pieces were uploaded to youtube and have been viewed a total of 577 times over the first 3 months. If you would like to hear these pieces, please have a look at the following playlist:

Figure: A still frame from the visualisation of the musical pieces. 


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