Everyone see things in the clouds. People, animals, Christ on the cross, UFO’s, angels, and even schizophrenically imagined chemical attacks by contrails. You name it, somebody has seen it. So when I was prodded with a news item that said “new cloud type defined” I was thinking “uh oh, here we go again”. It is a lot like cyclomania, as humans tend to assign patterns to randomly ordered observations of nature. Looking for meanings in the clouds isn’t much different than looking for meanings in the alignments of the stars and planets.
From ChattahBox and The UK Telegraph:
(ChattahBox)—Meteorologists around the world have taken notice of a new storm cloud on the horizon, literally. And if they have their way the dark and choppy cloud will take its rightful place among its more famous cousins, cumulus, cumulus, cirrus and nimbus.
Cloud gazing Meteorologists first noticed the stormy and billowy formation floating over the Scottish Highlands and above Snowdonia, Wales. The unique gray storm cloud was also spotted over Australia, the cornfields of Iowa and high above the Arctic Sea off the coast of Greenland.
A group in England dedicated to cloud watching, the Cloud Appreciation Society, became quite excited when viewing numerous photos of the new storm cloud floating in the atmosphere.
The Cloud appreciators describe the cloud as “…a bit like looking at the surface of a choppy sea from below,” said Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, and the first man to identify the new cloud.
The Royal Meteorological Society has named the new cloud, “Asperatus,” the Latin word for rough, since the cloud has the appearance of a rough, choppy ocean.
The Royal meteorologists are now attempting to have Asperatus officially recognized by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization in Geneva to have it included in the International Cloud Atlas.
If the meteorologists are successful, this would mark the first time a new cloud was officially recognized since 1953.
I have seen clouds like this, but did not see them as being a new classification. Thus a little trouble with the idea of making an entirely new classification for this cloud, a sub classification perhaps would be more appropriate, especially since this cloud does not appear to inhabit the middle and higher levels of the atmosphere.
Here are the existing classifications:
curl of hair
|fair weather cumulus
Cloud types include: altocumulus, altostratus.
Clouds with Vertical Development
Other Cloud Types
So for “asperatus” I could see maybe “stratoasperatus” but not “altoasperatus” since there is no evidence of them at the high altitudes, and clouds at that level tend not to be rough edged.
I actually hope WMO doesn’t accept this ploy for attention by the Cloud Appreciation Society, if they do, it could open an avalanche of new cloud classification applications, we may see pitches of the most absurd kind.
For example, here’s another one from the Cloud Appreciation Society:
“Altostratus Obamus” perhaps?
People see all sorts of things in the sky, if this new one is accepted, the petitioning for WMO recognition of new cloud types would never end.