The Sounds of Science

Jul 3, 2012

For over a century, scientists have known that gases in the atmosphere can trap heat, making the planet warmer. To illustrate this Greenhouse Effect, we recorded a pair of singers, David Jennings-Smith, a singer with the Pittsburgh Opera, and Pittsburgh vocalist Angela Morelli.

Jennings-Smith helped arrange sounds that mimicked the different infrared frequencies at the heart of the Greenhouse Effect. Specifically, they created sounds to represent the greenhouse gases: water, carbon dioxide, and methane. Each of these gases blocks different frequencies of light and heat in the atmosphere. So we had the singers roughly approximate the rising levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere through time. We recorded at East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

This story is part of "Gas Planet," a special presentation of the Allegheny Front.