Melting Glacier

CUSTOM APPLICATIONS – Melting Glacier Project


Several years ago, well known Scottish artist Katie Paterson came to us looking for help on a new project. She wanted to listen to the sound of a melting glacier and let people experience these sounds in real time.- as it happened.  We built a custom DolphinEar wireless system to make that project a reality and people from over 130 countries dialed into it from their home and mobile phones to hear the sounds of a melting glacier with their own ears.

What they heard (listen yourself) was the sound of the popping of ancient air bubbles compressed and frozen into the ice thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of years ago. As the ice melts, the compressed air is released suddenly as a ‘pop’. That’s what you are hearing.

But those bubbles also tell another story. By listening to the number and pitch of those bubbles we can estimate the rate of melting. What was surprising is that we saw very little difference between the popping rate when we compared recordings made during the summer and winter periods.  We would have expected the melt rate to be very much lower in the cold winter months. But it wasn’t.

This project also proved you could use weak mobile telephone signals in remote areas of the world to provide useful climate and monitoring data. Access from anywhere in the world is as simple as dialing a telephone number!