For the First Time Since 1987, The International Cloud Atlas Has Been Revised, Adding Twelve "New" Types of Cloud (Wait, Rainbows are Included?)!

Khryss | Published 2017-03-23 17:21
For those who don’t know, the International Cloud Atlas has been the global reference book for observing and identifying clouds, last revised in 1987 (I wasn’t even born yet!). But now, embracing the digital age, they’ve created a new version (At last! Ha-ha.) that’s going to be initially available as a web portal and accessible to the public for the first time. “The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) publishes the atlas, and also has the final say on the contents, including the addition of "new" clouds and cloud features. This time around 12 new terms have been added,” BBC author Matt McGrath says. The most popular (and people’s favorite) among these is asperitas which means rough-like in Latin as the clouds seem like the tossing of the waves at sea. Aside from this, several others have also been added like cavum, cauda (known as a tail cloud), fluctus and murus (known as a wall cloud).


Another one new and bizarre "species" was classified as the volutus, or roll-cloud- a low horizontal tube-shaped cloud formation. What’s more? They even included those processes that can lead to cloud formation! For instance, clouds that arise from wildfires are now called flammagenitus. Even similar patches of cloud formed over forests and over waterfalls are also classified. Moreover, (I bet you’ll like this one) clouds formed from the vapour trail of airplanes are also recognized! "In the modern day you will look up to the sky and see clouds made by airplanes. Once they are made they can linger for days," said BBC meteorologist John Hammond.  "It's one example of how crucial knowledge of cloud physics is - it's not just an aesthetic, our knowledge of clouds is still fairly limited." While these classifications of clouds are really amazing, there are also weather features that you might not really agree to be seen as clouds including rainbows, halos, snow devils and hailstones. "There are grey areas around the edge of this. All types of optical effects can be defined as clouds, be they halos or snow devils or rainbows, but I'm a little bit old-fashioned and I struggle with the inclusion of rainbows as clouds," he added.  
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