Professor John E ThornesProfessor of Applied MeteorologyUniversity of BirminghamCultural Climatology& theVisualisation of Climate Change
Art a Proxy for Climate Change? •Lamb detected increased cloudiness in Little Ice Age –small sample of 200 paintings •Neuberger (1967) examined 12,284 paintings in 41 art museums in 17 cities in 9 countries. Also detected Little Ice Age •All artists subconsciously depict climate? Some more consciously than others?
CULTURAL CLIMATOLOGY • The critical examination of the impact of climate on culture and the impact of culture on climate. • Culture and Climate: “You can’t have one without the other” • Visual Turn/Visual Literacy • Theory of Pictures/Picturing Theory • Visualising Climate Change
Causes for climate change (attribution) observations global mean temperature 1900 – 2005 observations: black multi-model ensemble mean: red and blue natural and anthropogenic forcings natural forcings only (solar+volcanic) Observed changes are - consistent with expected response to a combination of natural and anthropogenic forcings - inconsistent with alternative explanations (IPCC AR4, WG1)
The Next Generation (XRWIS) RouteForecast: ENTICE Technology Ltd Route-by-route suggested action based on underlying RST and condition forecasts.
Atmospheric Art Atmospheric Art is a new genre to describe works of art that are not only directly representational of form & process in the atmosphere such as Constable’s Cloud Series or Monet’s London Series but also works of art that are clearly nonrepresentational and performative such as Eliasson’s Installations and Turrell’s Skyspaces. Theory of Pictures
Merleau-Ponty As I contemplate the blue of the sky, I am not ‘set over against’ it as an acosmic subject .... I am the sky itself as it is drawn together and unified, and as it begins to exist for itself; my consciousness is saturated with this limitless blue. (1962)
Landscape Noon: The Haywain 1821 John Constable “We see nothing truly till we understand it” John Constable
Atmospheric Art Sky: a fantastic natural light show - Cyanometer Atmosphere: aerial perspective, wind and air pollution Weather: clouds, rain, fog, thunderstorms, sunshine, overcast Light: sun, moon, rainbows, crepuscular rays etc Climate: vegetation, season, clothing Climate Change:air pollution, flooding, drought, harvest failure, new crops
Letter to Revd John Fisher 23rd October 1821 “I have done a great deal of skying” “I have often been advised to consider my skey - as a White Sheet drawn behind the objects” “The skey is the key note - the standard of scale and the chief organ of sentiment” “But these remarks do not apply to accidental effects of skey”
Sepr. 10. 1821, Noon, gentle Wind at West. Very sultry after a heavy shower with thunder. accumulated thunder clouds passing slowly away to the south East. Very bright and hot. All the foliage sparkling with the wet Howard stated “Some thunder around noon: heavy showers” Other weather data agrees 54 weather inscriptions have survived Possible to use weather evidence to date 15 studies
Monet’s Mission in London ‘For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life, the air and the light, which vary continually…For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere that gives subjects their true value.’ “L’enveloppe” “Instantanaity”
How often can we see the sun setting over the Houses of Parliament?? Probably only on average once a week – less in winter 1900??
W1572: ‘Waterloo Bridge, le soleil dans le brouillard’ (the sun in the fog) London : Private Collection, 73 x 92 cmRange of possible dates: February 15th – February 19th at 8:14 – 8:17am W1572Sun azimuth 121.7°altitude +7.99° +7.99° +2.33° -0.37° -4.23° 114° 119° 121.7° 125.5°
CULTURAL CLIMATOLOGY • Ruskin stated that: • ..the scientific and imaginative study of clouds, weather and climate cannot be divorced from the issues of society. • We can all still learn from Ruskin’s call that sustainable art is dialectically linked to a sustainable environment