Thornes, John B.
THORNES, John B.
CAREER: Educator and author. Kings College, London, London, England, professor of geomorphology, applied meteorology, and atmospheric management. Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use Concerted Action program (MEDALUS), coordinator. British Broadcasting Corporation, television weatherman on The Travel Show, BBC-2.
(With Anthony Young and Denys Brunsden) Slope Profile Survey, Geo Abstracts Ltd. (Norwich, England), 1974.
(With Malcolm W. Clark) Non-sequential Water Quality Project, London School of Economics and Political Science (London, England), 1975.
Semi-Arid Erosional Systems: Case Studies from Spain, London School of Economics and Political Science (London, England), 1976.
(With Denys Brunsden) Geomorphology and Time, Methuen (London, England), 1977.
(Coeditor with Clifford Embleton) Process in Geomorphology, Wiley (New York, NY), 1979.
(With Antonio Gilman and Stephen Wise) Land-Use and Prehistory in South-East Spain, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1985.
(Coeditor with K. J. Gregory and John Lewin) Palaeo-hydrology in Practice: A River Basin Analysis, Wiley (Chichester, England), 1987.
(Editor) Vegetation and Erosion: Processes and Environments, Wiley (Chichester, England), 1990.
(Coeditor with J. Brandt) Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use, Wiley (Chichester, England), 1996.
(Coeditor with N. A. Geeson and P. Mairota) Atlas of Mediterranean Environments in Europe, Wiley (Chichester, England), 1998.
John Constable's Skies: A Fusion of Art and Science, Birmingham University Press (Birmingham, England), 1999.
(Coeditor with N. A. Geeson and C. J. Brandt), Mediterranean Desertification: A Mosaic of Processes and Responses, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2002.
(With John Wainwright), Environmental Issues in the Mediterranean: Processes and Perspectives from the Past and Present, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to scientific journals, including Journal of Hydrology and Geomorphology. Contributor to books, including A. J. Parsons and A. D. Abrahams, editors, Geomorphology of Desert Environments, Chapman & Hall (London, England), 1993; R. B. Singh, editor, Global Environmental Change, Sage (London, England), 1994; M. G. Anderson and S. M. Brooks, editors, Advances in Hillslope Processes, Wiley (Chichester, England), 1996; B. Webb, editor, Hydrology in a Changing Environment, Wiley, 1998; F. Golley and J. Bellot, editors, Rural Planning, Springer-Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1999; and Ron Johnson and Michael Williams, editors, A Century of British Geography, Oxford University Press (London, England), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: John B. Thornes, a well-known geomorphologist and meteorologist, teaches at Kings College, London, and was formerly a television weather-man on BBC-2's The Travel Show. Thornes also coordinates the Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use Concerted Action project (MEDALUS), a European Union-funded environmental research program involving fifty-one universities and field stations in nine European countries. As part of that project, Thornes coedited the Atlas of Mediterranean Environments in Europe, which provides an overview of the effect of human actions on the areas around the sea. Writing in the Geographical Journal, reviewer Anne Mather found the text book to be "more of a propaganda tool for the MEDALUS program than a serious contender as an atlas," although she added that the work contains great deal of information on desertification and the scientific response. More recently, Thornes coedited Mediterranean Desertification: A Mosaic of Processes and Responses, which also draws heavily on the work of the MEDALUS project. "Overall, the chapters of this book are interesting, diverse and generally well written and accessible," commented Johanna E. Bullard in the Geographical Journal. "What becomes very clear is the variety of different ways in which Mediterranean landscapes respond to environmental and social changes."
Outside of the world of geomorphology, Thornes has also penned a book of art criticism. Thornes always found his trips to art museums ruined by the fact that few artists have painted physically accurate skies. "The clouds in the sky look like they would be more appropriate coming out of a steam engine," he once commented of Rubens' "An Autumn Landscape with a View of Het Steen in the Early Morning." Consequently, Thornes was thrilled to discover the works of nineteenth-century English painter John Constable, who was the first painter to make a serious study of meteorology. In John Constable's Skies: A Fusion of Art and Science Thornes examines Constable's paintings in terms of their scientific accuracy and their depictions of unusual weather phenomena, as well as discussing the artist's atmospheric research.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Birmingham Post, August 10, 2000, Helen Bruce, "Cloud over England's Artists," p. 5.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), August 10, 2000, Danielle Demetriouu, "Old Masters Are under a Cloud: Senior Weatherman Joins Criticism of Landscape Artists," p. 12.
Geographical Journal November, 1998, review of Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use, p. 355; November, 1999, Anne Mather, review of Atlas of Mediterranean Environments in Europe, p. 327; June, 2004, Joanna E. Bullard, review of Mediterranean Desertification: A Mosaic of Processes and Responses, p. 168.
Guardian (London, England), August 10, 2000, "Clouding the Issue: No Sin to Be Meteorologically Incorrect," p. 19.
Independent (London, England), September 13, 1999, Chris Mowbray, "Constable: Nice Skies, Shame about the Rainbows," p. 5.
Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), March 14, 1999, "Which Life?," p. 31.
Times (London, England), August 9, 2000, Dalya Alberge, "Constable Casts a Cloud over Masters," p. 7.
Times Literary Supplement, November 5, 1999, review of John Constable's Skies: A Fusion of Art and Science, p. 32.
Weatherwise, May, 2000, Stanley David Gedzelman, review of John Constable's Skies, p. 46.*