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The visceral climate experience

Climate music from Minnesota highlighted in Nature Climate Change

The March 3 issue of Nature Climate Change has a feature article on artistic representations of our changing climate, including mention of our 'climate music' compositions.

“Music is energy and it’s a powerful driver of change.” Put another way, music is culture and “When you influence culture, change happens.” - Sudha Kheterpal

The article, which is titled 'The visceral climate experience' was written by Sonja van Renssenn and introduces a whole host of recent attempts to use music and the visual arts to 'anchor' climate change in culture. I was familiar with some of the other works highlighted, like Ed Hawkin's climate spirals, and Jill Pelto's watercolor representations of iconic climate change datasets. But most of the other pieces were new to me and seem fascinating:

  • A book describing the adventures of Alice in Climate-Modelling Land
  • Photorealistic images of iconic locations flooded by sea-level rise
  • Real composed music (not sonifications) based on temperature and CO2 data

It's encouraging to see that so many people (scientists, even!) are thinking creatively to shake up the status quo in how we communicate the science of climate change.

The challenge in 2017 will be communicating why it’s not another record- breaking year for global temperatures. The answer lies perhaps in communicating the disharmony that pervades the global climate system today. - Sonja van Ressen

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