People drowned microphones in water to record glaciers for two years. But why?

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(ORDO NEWS) — Several scientists, along with an Irish artist, went on an expedition to the glaciers of Greenland to record their special sounds. But what do they want to make from the received material and why is it needed at all?

Irish artist Siobhan McDonald has embarked on an expedition to the shores of Greenland with an international team of scientists. Their goal is to record and preserve the soundscape of melting icebergs.

A special type of microphone will help in this – hydrophones, which will be placed at the required depth and which will record sounds every hour for two years.

Later, all recordings are planned to be turned into an acoustic composition.

People drowned microphones in water to record glaciers for two years But why 2
Siobhan McDonald is not the first time to go on an expedition to Greenland

Glaciers of Greenland

It is noted that hydrophones will be lowered to different levels and sent to different areas with different temperatures: this is necessary to record earthquakes, landslides, wildlife sounds, pollution and meltwater, all to create an “ocean memory archive”.

“What you hear in the hydrophones is a snapshot of time,” Siobhan McDonald said, speaking from the expedition ship.

“It’s like a time capsule.” So, the expedition “entered” 12 moorings, from where hydrophones descended.

McDonald plans to bring in a composer to include the recordings, due to be collected by 2024, in an acoustic installation showcasing humanity’s impact on ocean life.

McDonald also plans to create a series of paintings, sculptures and other works based on the trip.

“I’m interested in hearing ‘acoustic pollution’. The sea level is rising and I believe that this will affect the sound range and all the biodiversity of the water. Sound is fundamental to ocean and arctic animals.

Hearing is fundamental to communication, reproduction, feeding and ultimately survival. All this indicates the need to pay attention to the pollution of the ecosystem around us, ”the artist noted.

People drowned microphones in water to record glaciers for two years But why 3
Climate change and human activity do not have the best impact on the biodiversity of the Earth‘s water sources

Sounds of nature and environmental problems

Funded by the US National Science Foundation’s Polar Program, the 21-person team of researchers from Europe, the US and Canada has been at sea with McDonald for four weeks now, studying water salinity, whale migration, ice floes and other phenomena.

All material is planned to be used in both scientific and artistic works, including films.

During the expedition, the researchers have already been tested by wind, rain and snow, having reached the Nuup Kangerlua glacier.

The researchers plan to return to the port of Nuuk, in western Greenland, by October 22. The initiative for such an expedition comes amid growing evidence that the melting of the Greenland ice cap – trillions of tons spilled into the ocean – will cause a significant rise in sea levels.

McDonald noticed that there is now less ice compared to her last visit to Greenland in 2017.

“The breakup of the Greenland ice cap is one of the tipping points that I work with. Importantly, we have discovered that here, high in the Arctic, life still thrives.

Although the seascape may seem barren, it is full of possibilities. Some of the other expedition’s hydrophones have returned, looking like alien creatures shambling in from the Greenland Ocean.

Lichens and tiny plants lived in symbiosis with rusty surfaces,” Siobhan marvels.


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