Friday, November 23, 2012

A NEW CLASS OF CLOUDS?

 
An "asperatus" cloud rolls over New Zealand's South Island in an undated picture.

This apparently new class of clouds is still a mystery. But experts suspect asperatus clouds' choppy undersides may be due to strong winds disturbing previously stable layers of warm and cold air.

Asperatus clouds may spur the first new classification in the World Meteorological Organization's International Cloud Atlas since the 1950s, Gavin Pretor-Pinney said.
Yikes!  Those are weird clouds.  I've seen nothing like them.  Before I read of the probable cause of the new clouds, I guessed.

Click the link to see more pictures of asperatus clouds in other areas.

29 comments:

  1. You might enjoy "The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies" by Richard Hamblyn. It is about the early history of cloud classification and about Luke Howard, a Quaker pharmacist, who was the prime mover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Erp. I'm fascinated by the asperatus clouds.

      Delete
  2. Those are SO COOL!

    I pulled out my "Cloudspotter's Guide, the Science, History and Culture of Clouds" by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. I had to buy it out here in big sky country and all... He doesn't show ANY clouds like that! --they seem almost like cumulus towers in reverse... !

    Grandmere, there is a Cloud Appreciation Society Facebook group -has all kinds of comments and posts about clouds. https://www.facebook.com/cloudappreciationsociety?fref=ts

    You might enjoy that too!
    Thank you for sharing the picture --it's wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. margaret, the clouds are seen in the Midwest, so maybe one day.... Thanks for the link to the Facebook group.

      Delete
    2. And the clouds do resemble cumulus towers in reverse and waves in the sea. In the picture above, "the sea was angry that day, my friends...."

      Delete
  3. I agree those are strange clouds. I hesitate to think what the reaction of many people would be if they showed up in New Orleans.

    Had some nice cumulus the other day piled up high just the other side the Santa Cruz mountains (aka hills) to the west of me but not yet moved over them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erp! Santa Cruz!!!! --my great grandfather built a cabin out of a single redwood tree north of Felton by the Twin Bridges in an area now called Brackney. There are now about 20 houses there --all filled with my cousins this weekend (Hambly, Crow, Sargent, Cunningham, Dolby etc.). Watch out! These kinda clouds could form there any minute!

      Delete
    2. The picture I chose to use is the most dramatic (of course!), and if I'd seen such clouds around here, I'd surely have been spooked. The clouds do not contain precipitation, but they often form near thunderstorm clouds.

      Delete
    3. Alas I'm up on the Bay side of the mountains and I'm first generation here (though my great great great grandmother's brother settled in San Jose in the late 1800's [he had a couple of sons but I'm not sure if there were any descendants beyond that]). Santa Cruz itself was probably getting rain from those clouds (or at least the equivalent a bit further south). I do like the redwoods though, walking through damp forest with the Stellers jays calling and keeping an eye out for banana slugs. Bit different from where you are now.

      Delete
  4. They look like "Sky God Angry!" clouds. O_o

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JCF, I agree. I would have been frightened to see such a sight. At least now if I see such a phenomenon I will be prepared.

      Delete
  5. Well JCF, on a practical level its definitely saying "DON'T FLY HERE"!
    Charley F-B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh nooo. You're right about that, Charley.

      Delete
  6. Very interesting and weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The clouds in the picture are just plain scary. I'd be afraid they were coming down to get me.

      Delete
  7. Grandmere, might I ask when I supplied the link for this, as I have absolutely no recollection of having done so. My concern is that I am somehow 'sleep-posting', or that my pain med's are having more of an effect on my mind than I had previously thought. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AofS, I guess you didn't, then. I have the real name of another correspondent mixed up with your nom de blog. If you'd email me with your off blog name, that would be helpful.

      Delete
    2. There's a relief! I had visions of another 6 months trialing new pain med combinations; believe me, it was a nightmare - often quite literally - getting them right.
      When I'm not being AoS, my name's Bryan. Hope that helps :-))

      Delete
    3. Sorry to have alarmed you, AofS. Now I'm embarrassed. Plus, I have no idea who sent me the link.

      It would be helpful when people send me emails under their real names that they include the nom de blog used to post comments.

      Delete
    4. It's not a problem, Grandmere. It took just 30 minutes from me seeing the attribution to you clearing up the mystery (for me, anyway. There's still the question of the mystery contributor), so my concern was extremely short-lived.

      Love the cloud pic, by the way, very atmospheric (no pun intended); it reminds me of the clouds that the alien ships emerged from in the wonderfully cliche-ridden 'Independence Day'.

      Delete
    5. The clouds look unreal, like computer-generated clouds in a film.

      Delete
  8. Totally interesting clous, Mimi! I don't think I'd want to fly through them either, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clouds....UGH! I'm typing too fast!)

      Delete
    2. Ciss, I do it, too. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with the preview function.

      Delete
  9. Visiting my grandmother in southern Oklahoma one day about 1936, a green, boiling cloud came over -- it looked to be about 100 feet up. We hit the storm cellar as hail the size of oranges and cauliflower began to fall.

    Sitting on the steps of a house on Grindstone Mountain in northern Arkansas (home of the Episcopal Book Club), I saw a cloud over Eagle Rock Lake in Missouri, ten miles or so north. It was black, and white plumes were curling up at the edges. It came on rapidly, and when it arrived, the porch swing blew straight out on its chains.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I had just one experience of this sort, and relatively tame. I was driving toward one of the bridges over San Francisco Bay in unsettled weather, and I saw a strange lighting in the sky, such as I'd never seen. Pretty much indescribable, but unaccountable. Some seconds later as I drove along the freeway, it quite suddenly started raining so heavily as to block all visibility, and there was nothing to do but slow down and hope. Next time I'll recognize the warning.

    BTW: Color and Light in Nature, a book by David K Lynch and William Livingstone, is a classic of strange phenomena, weird and often spectacular pictures, and lucid explanations, so far as those are possible.

    Not cheap, seems to be up to $72 in hardcover, but what do expect from high-quality photos?

    Porlock Junior

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another cloud adventure. :-)

      I'm thinking of my most interesting cloud adventure. One was seeing an enormous waterspout in the water off the beach as I walked to the hotel restaurant in Panama City, FL. Folks were scurrying out of the water and off the beach, but the spout did not come ashore. Thank goodness!

      Another time, we watched from our patio door as points of funnels repeatedly dipped down and back up out of a cloud in a fierce thunderstorm, but none made it to the ground.

      Delete