The ClimateMusic Project

The sounds of climate change at Chabot Space and Science Center.

If you could compress hundreds of thousands of years of climate change data into a few minutes — what would it sound like? That’s the challenge behind The ClimateMusic Project, a concert and data project debuting at the Chabot Space & Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) on November 21. In a sample of the concept on the project’s website, “America the Beautiful” is played using a trumpet, violin, and bass to represent different systems within the atmosphere — carbon dioxide levels, global temperature, and the ocean’s pH levels, respectively. The composition starts out sounding harmonious during the centuries when the climate was relatively stable, but as temperatures rise and the pH level of the ocean goes out of whack, the pitch of the instruments change. A discordant sound emerges, leaving the listener struggling to hold onto the melody of the song. The goal is to “communicate climate science in a very broad spectrum — the hearts, minds, values,” said William Collins, a science advisor for the project, in the introductory video. “I think that’s an immensely important development.”


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