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Tour the Ocean through the Art of Sound

Tour the Ocean through the Art of Sound

Tour the Ocean through the Art of Sound

The ocean is one of the largest ecosystems on our planet. From eye-catching waves to the darkness of the twilight zone, it’s a place filled with mystery and rapid change.

An aerial view of a coastline and ocean are the background to text which reads "Sounds of the Sea".ALT

For a scientist studying ocean color at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, there was one more question–what does it sound like?

Before long, a “symphonic ocean experience” was born, combining satellite imagery, ocean color data and programming expertise. Learn more about how data gets converted to music and sound here:

This World Oceans Day, enjoy a tour of the ocean set to sound. Here we go:

Bering Sea

This melody explores the phytoplankton blooms in the western Bering Sea along the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula collected by Aqua/MODIS on May 15, 2021. The melody created for this image was aimed at capturing the movement of the eddies or the circular movements of water. Data came from the image’s red, green, and blue channels.

Rio de la Plata

This melody explores a spring bloom in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, lending the water many different shades of green, blue, and brown. The Rio de la Plata estuary in the northwest corner of the above image gets most of its tan coloration from sediments suspended in the water. The melody paired with the data evokes the sediment plumes and swirls happening off the coast.

Coral Sea

Data for the sounds of the Coral Sea were collected over the course of one year from the Aqua/Modis satellite. The information was extracted from a series of 32-day rolling averages for the year 2020, displaying the movement of chlorophyll a data.

Chlorophyll a is a specific form of chlorophyll used in photosynthesis. It absorbs most energy from wavelengths of violet-blue and orange-red light. It is a poor absorber of green and near-green portions of the spectrum, and that’s why it appears green.

Western Australia

Off the coast of western Australia is the appearance of swirls in the ocean. To catch the movement of the Indian Ocean, data was collected from 31 days of imagery examining blue wavelengths of light. The information was gathered from the Suomi-NPP/VIIRS instrument aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) series of spacecraft.

More moments of zen

Looking for more moments of zen? Explore them with NASA’s Soundcloud page, where many are out of this world. Curious on how we get these breathtaking ocean images? Take time to read about Goddard Oceanographer Norman Kuring and how he helped create them.

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