Klima|Anlage—Performing Climate Data

  • Katharina Groß-VogtEmail author
  • Thomas Hermann
  • Martin W. Jury
  • Andrea K. Steiner
  • Sukandar Kartadinata
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


The urgent need to inform the general public about climate change is evident. Typically, this is done with the aid of visual and textual interpretations of findings of climate research. Other modes of perception might attract more attention. Sonification is a relatively new means of perceptualizing data by translating it into sound. This paper describes the Klima|Anlage, a walk-in sound installation “performing climate data”. The climate data for this purpose were obtained from a global climate modeling experiment providing climate projections for the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate data from 1950 to 2100 can be chosen interactively by the listener for twelve selected regions of the world. The installation is based on four sound generators: a drip device with controlled drip rate for precipitation data, a record player with marble disks for wind data, a tetrachord instrument that is excited by radiation data, and three thunder sheets that play air temperature data. In addition, purely electronic sounds convey data of the global greenhouse gas concentrations. The Klima|Anlage has been exhibited at several locations since 2015, and excerpts of the sound recordings have been broadcast on Deutschlandradio, a German radio station. Sound and video examples may be accessed at and as supplementary material to this paper ( This paper contributes to a greater understanding of how to communicate complex scientific data to the public, using innovative communication channels. Conclusions on the design of the Klima|Anlage can be generalized to other sound installations at the border of science and media arts.


Sonification Auditory display Climate modeling Media arts 



Marcus Gammel initiated the project and led it with great care and involvement. Werner Cee was responsible for the main sound layout and for creating the instruments. Esther Schelander accompanied the project workshops and created the feature for Deutschlandradio. Valdis Wish of the Bureau for Digital Good is responsible for the website. Thanks to Hanns Holger Rutz for help with the preparation of data. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling for the provision of CMIP5 model output, as well as the climate modeling group of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, for producing and making available their model output. This research was partly supported by the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology ‘CITEC’ (EXC 277) at Bielefeld University, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). This work was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under research grant P24159 (SysSon). Many thanks to Hank Fullenwider for proofreading and giving feedback for this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Groß-Vogt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Hermann
    • 2
  • Martin W. Jury
    • 3
  • Andrea K. Steiner
    • 3
  • Sukandar Kartadinata
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, University of Music and Performing Arts GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Ambient Intelligence GroupCITEC, Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of GrazGrazAustria
  4. 4.Free Music Instrument Builder, GluiBerlinGermany

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