Microphones fall into the ocean off Greenland to record melting icebergs | oceans

An expedition of scientists and artist deploys underwater microphones into the ocean green land To record and save the audio scene of melting icebergs.

The hydrophones will record the sounds hourly for two years before collecting and harvesting them to obtain data and convert the recordings into an audio composition.

Instruments are lowered to different levels and temperatures to record earthquakes, landslides, wildlife, pollution and meltwater, creating an archive of “memory of the ocean”.

Iceberg off the coast of Greenland.
Iceberg off the coast of Greenland. Photography: Siobhan MacDonald

“What you hear in the water is a glimpse into time,” Siobhan McDonaldAn Irish artist said on Tuesday, speaking from an expedition ship. “It’s like a time capsule.”

The expedition deployed five hydrophone-equipped berths – and 12 berths in total – in Davis Strait, North Pole Gateway between Greenland and Canada.

MacDonald plans to work with a composer to integrate the recordings, which will be collected in 2024, into an audio facility that explores humanity’s impact on the ocean. You will also make paintings, sculptures, and other works based on the trip.

An oceanographic anchor posted on a previous expedition.
An oceanographic anchor posted on a previous expedition. Photography: Siobhan MacDonald

“I am interested in hearing about sound pollution. Sea levels are rising and that is going to have an impact I imagine on the sound scale and on biodiversity. Sound is fundamental in the ocean and in Arctic animals. Hearing is fundamental to communication, reproduction, nutrition and ultimately survival. It speaks to the need to pay attention to the pollution we cause to the ecosystems around us.”

Siobhan MacDonald on a previous expedition to Greenland.
Siobhan MacDonald on a previous expedition to Greenland. Photography: Ashley Gordon / Siobhan MacDonald

Funded by the US National Science Foundation’s Polar Program, the team of 21 researchers from Europe, the US and Canada were at sea for four weeks studying sea salinity, whale migrations, ice floes and other phenomena. The material will be used in scientific analysis and artwork including paintings, sculptures and films.

The expedition experienced strong winds, rain and snow and coincided with the birth of the Nuup Kangerlua Glacier. The researchers are scheduled to return to the port of Nuuk, western Greenland, on October 22.

The initiative came amid mounting evidence that melting Greenland’s ice sheet – the flow of trillions of tons into the ocean – will cause a significant rise in sea levels.

The results of burning fossil fuels would result in at least 27 centimeters (10.6 in) of Greenland alone, according to the recent study In the journal Nature Climate Change. A separate study last year found that much of Greenland’s ice sheet was on land On the brink of a turning pointafter which accelerated thawing becomes inevitable even if global warming stops.

MacDonald said she noticed a decrease in the ice compared to her last visit to Greenland in 2017. “The collapse of the Greenland ice sheet is one of the tipping points I’m working with, a time that may already have passed.”

Despite this, she said, marine life appears to be adapting. “One of the main things we have discovered is that life here in the Arctic is still thriving. Although the seascape may seem barren, it is bursting with possibilities. Some hydrophones have returned from another expedition that look like strange creatures scurrying from the oceans of Greenland. The lichens were And young plants live in symbiosis with rusty roofs.”

MacDonald has also studied methane release from thawing permafrost and the similarities between Irish peat bogs and soils exposed by vanishing glaciers, which will be shown in an exhibition at the Model, Arts Center in County Sligo, next year.

Artwork mixing glacial ice with methane ink.
Artwork mixing glacial ice with methane ink. Photography: Siobhan MacDonald

The McDonald’s project has received support from the European Commission, the Arts Council of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, Monaghan County Council, Creative Ireland, the non-profit organization GLUON and Ocean Memory Project.

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