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The Odd, Disconcerting Music of Climate Change

San Francisco scientists and musicians are creating experimental compositions based on real climate data.
The ClimateMusic Project performs inside the planetarium at Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center.
The ClimateMusic Project performs inside the planetarium at Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center.(Darin Limvere via The ClimateMusic Project)

What does global warming sound like?

For The ClimateMusic Project, a San Francisco coalition of musicians and scientists who pen compositions based on climate data, things kick off during the Industrial Revolution with a molassesy, bass-and-piano-heavy groove that might induce a nodding trance. Weird distortions like twinges in a stretched-out cassette tape arrive in the late 1900s as Earth's energy balance is jolted out of whack. Looking into the future, the music then turns darker and frenetic in the decades post-2017—the beat and pitch racing, the melody discordant and churning, and the planet's temperature soaring into an irreversible heat hell.