“Climate Spiral” by Ed Hawkins

Back in 2016, at the EUPORIAS final General Assembly at the Met Office we had a chance to play Ed Hawkin’s famous Climate Spiral animation. However at the time it was very hard to record it properly and we were not able to film it.

Now we have been able to do so and in the next few weeks will make a better recording where you will be able to see the BellHouse playing the animation alongside the animation itself to see the responses as they occur.

In the meantime I have recorded the animation, partly to demonstrate how BellHouse works as the correlation between the sound and the visual is so strong. It may also be helpful to see a post I made here for more information about the technical aspects of BellHouse if you want to submit data to play.


The header image for this piece is the .gif of the spiral and this is what the spiral looks like when played through the BellHouse sampler, which is the piece of software which sends requests to the sculpture to play the bells over the internet. On the left is the animation and on right is the grid of squares which represent the bells.

I have enlarged the part of the animation where movement occurs in order that the most bells can play the movement that occurs. In this first film I have made the BellHouse sample every 2 seconds with a threshold of 2 (the amount of colu\our change required to make a bell ring. This is what it sounds like:



In this film I have increased the sampling threshold to 3 and the BellHouse plays it a lot more quietly. One thing about the spiral is that the colour of the line changes over time, starting off as purple in 1850, going to yellow by 2020. Invevitably BellHouse will pick up on this colour change over time a bit and at the higher threshold it does not seem to do so.

For further information about the climate spiral for non climate scientists, please see here.