Sonifying Climate Change in Australia

Can sound help us better understand climate change?

In collaboration with Penn State University, ‘Sonifying climate change in Australia’ brings together music specialists, communications scholars and climate scientists to create unique sound tracks that enable us to hear extreme weather. The soundtracks are created by tracking air pressure, rainfall and longitude and latitude every six hours. This data is processed by algorithmic composition and audio synthesis within a platform called ‘supercollider’ to produce distinct sound sequences. Thus far, this process has only been used to sonify cyclones, but the Hub is looking at the possibility of also sonifying other kinds of storms and heatwaves.

This research not only has the potential to effectively 'hear' climate change in an entirely new way, but could also be a novel way of bringing climate science to new audiences through sampling in music. A further application could also be the ability to create new types of warning systems for extreme weather by sonfiying events in real-time.

The MCCCRH hosted a seminar discussing the potential of this exciting new research in August 2018. Please click here to see more from the event.

Working with Penn State University, the MCCCRH has produced Australia's first ever sonification of a cyclone, Cyclone Debbie, which you can listen to here.