Artists and researchers learn that climate change can not only be seen, but also heard.
Enter Ugo Nanni, a University of Oslo researcher with an affinity for transcribing natural phenomena into sound. Using a seismometer, Nanni sought to better understand the melting patterns of the Kongsvegen Glacier in Svalbard, a landmark about 800 miles north of Norway.
When ice melts and eventually breaks up, it creates vibrations that can be detected by a seismometer. As one can imagine, these particular frequencies are normally inaudible, registering between 1 and 100 HZ, but Nanni has harnessed some post-processing magic so that we can hear the glaciers for ourselves.
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Across six tracks, Nanni documents the process cycle of melting glaciers, illuminating the impact of climate change through the emerging art form of turning data into sound. Available to listen to on SoundCloud, Nanni’s intriguing work is full of scientific utility. As Bloomberg notes, ambient traces may have the ability to indicate the rate of glacial mass loss as well as assess the potential for glacial hazards.
In the first track, a glacier shows its first signs of weakness as it registers cracks during a violent storm. In the second, the glacier begins to break. In tracks three through five, water flows through the glacier, causing additional crevasses to emerge. Finally, in the final recording, the resonance of the fracturing of the glacier is heard.
Listen to Nanni’s full project below.