Clouds

Mammatus

Rounded, smooth, globular ‘pouches’ clumped together and hanging underneath the base of a cumulonimbus cloud. They often form on the underside of an anvil and are accompanied by thunderstorms. The name translates to mamma and means ‘mammary cloud’.

Altostratus (As)

One of the 10 characteristic cloud types (or cloud genera) recognised by the International Cloud Atlas. Its name comes from altum (height) and stratus (spread out). It appears as a greyish or bluish sheet of cloud, partly or totally covering the sky, but with parts sufficiently thin to at least vaguely reveal the sun.

'Ice lollies' found in UK clouds

Clouds aren’t typically associated with ice lollies, but rather sunshine – until now. Researchers from Manchester University have found ice lolly-shaped icicles in cloud systems over the UK and the North Atlantic.

The ice formations – which are the shape of a stick attached to a large spherical head – were found in large concentrations during a research flight over the northeast Atlantic Ocean in 2016, and previously in southwest UK in 2009.

What does a cloud feel like?

 “What do you think a cloud feels like?” I asked the assembled Brownies

“Cotton wool, cotton candy, fluffy, cool, wet ….”

A simple garden pond decoration that produces mist by forcing water through a very fine mesh, combined with a large shallow bowl of water, creates a cloud for children to feel. Most of them end up slightly disappointed as a cloud feels like nothing very much, but it is a good conversation starter!

Have you ever had that sinking feeling?

At 1039 GMT on 7 December 1972 Jack Schmitt from the crew of Apollo 17 took one of the most iconic, and certainly most reproduced photographs of all time.  NASA named it photograph AS17-148-22727, but very shortly after the picture went public it became known as ‘the blue marble’.  It is of course the picture of the near full-earth disk taken on route to the moon, with the sun directly behind the Apollo 17 spacecraft.  Interestingly it was not the first of these kinds of images from of earth.

Study explains science behind newly recognised cloud: asperitas

Clouds have always been a feature of paintings and photographs, but images captured by amateur photographers confirmed the existence of a dramatic cloud form with a roughened, wave-like base. Citizen science has now helped experts to explain how the newly-recognised ‘wave-like’ asperitas cloud is formed.  

Study explains science behind newly recognised cloud

Clouds have always appeared in paintings, photographs and pictures, but images captured by amateur photographers confirmed the existence of a dramatic cloud form with a roughened, wavelike base. Citizen science has now helped experts to explain how the newly-recognised ‘wave-like’ asperitas cloud is formed.  

Mother-of-Pearl clouds thought to have inspired Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'

Research published in the Royal Meteorological Society's Weather journal suggesting that mother-of-pearl clouds inspired Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' has gained lots of attention at #EGU17 conference in Vienna. It was even featured on BBC News >> 

Read the full Weather article for free here >> 

International Cloud Atlas & new cloud classifications

On World Meteorological Day (23rd March 2017), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its new, online, digitised International Cloud Atlas, which is the global reference for observing and identifying clouds. It contains a number of new cloud classifications, including the eagerly-awaited asperitas, a dramatic undulated cloud which has captured media interest and public imagination.  The RMetS originally reviewed examples of asperitas  provided by Gavin Pretor-Pinney of the Cloud Appreciation Society.