The Humming of Marine Heat Waves
A short film by the +ATLANTIC CoLAB to convey to the public the increasing frequency of Marine Heat Waves (MHW) in the North Atlantic basin, by converting scientific data into a musical composition, combined with poetry and video
Lisbon | Started on 01/06/2021
In early 2021, a couple of young researchers from +ATLANTIC working on ocean data about the sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic noticed how Marine Heat Waves (MHW) are becoming more frequent and longer, especially in the last few decades. The data and its derived graphics were clear: there have never been so many and stronger MHW events in this part of our global ocean.
A discussion on how to share such evidence began. Soon, we realised that we had to do something beyond publishing a scientific paper – we wanted to reach out to a broader audience! To inspire people and call them to act. The data scientists recognized the graphic quality of the spatial-temporal patterns but also saw an opportunity to translate ocean data into music. We were confident that something special could be in the making and knew it had to be shown on a larger stage.
For a few weeks, we worked together to convert our ideas into something we felt could appeal to those outside the marine science sphere. The main segment of the music video shows the evolution of the North Atlantic’s sea surface temperature, namely the number of MHW events, from 1982 to 2020. The piano playing in sync with the data is a translation of the raw data into musical notes. What you are listening to is, in a certain way, the very own voice of the Atlantic, the humming of marine heat waves.
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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.