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Old 06-03-2009, 09:54 AM   #1
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Thumbs up The cloud with no name: Meteorologists campaign to classify unique 'Asperatus' clouds seen across the world

Whipped into fantastical shapes, these clouds hang over the darkening landscape like the harbingers of a mighty storm.

But despite their stunning and frequent appearances, the formations have yet to be officially recognised with a name.

They have been seen all over Britain in different forms - from Snowdonia to the Scottish Highlands - and in other parts of the world such as New Zealand, but usually break up without producing a storm.

And some experts believe the stormy weather phenomenon deserves its very own classification.

Experts at the Royal Meteorological Society are now attempting to make it official by naming it 'Asperatus' after the Latin word for 'rough'.

If they are successful, it would be the first variety of cloud formation to be given a new label in over half a century

'It is a bit like looking at the surface of a choppy sea from below,' said Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, who identified the cloud from photographs sent in by members.

'We try to identify and classify all of the images of clouds we get in, but there were some that just didn't seem to fit in any of the other categories, so I began to think it might be a unique type of cloud.'

He added: 'The underside of the clouds are quite rough and choppy. It looks very stormy, but some of the reports we have been getting suggest that they tend to break up without actually turning into a storm.'
By Luke Salkeld

The Royal Meteorological Society is now gathering detailed information for the days and locations where the asperatus clouds have been seen in an attempt to understand exactly what is causing them.

Officials will then apply to the UN's World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva to have the new cloud type considered for addition into the International Cloud Atlas, the system used by meteorologists across the globe.

Professor Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive of the RMS, said: 'There would probably need to be quite a lot of heat around to produce the energy needed to generate such dramatic cloud formations.

'They are quite dark structures so there must be a lot of water vapour condensing in the cloud.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete....html?ITO=1490

Hat tip to Wojapi!
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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I never want to see clouds 1 and 3.

It looks like the end of the world, or a science fiction special effects movie of something very ominous indeed.

Or biblical like the parting of the Red Sea. I can see Ramses and his horses and chariots racing along, while the red sea parts beneath clouds like these.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:29 PM   #3
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Wow, those are really cool! Kind of like Van Gogh on steroids...



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Old 06-03-2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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I took pictures a month or two ago in seattle. I'll see if I can dredge them up.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:21 PM   #5
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Default here they are

Taken around 6 pm
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:23 PM   #6
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Those appear to be mammatus clouds, PE.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:29 PM   #7
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Yeah, did the wiki on it. It has been 20 years since I've lived in the midwest, and on the west coast, thunderclouds do not exist.

I've lived in Seattle 8 years, and can probably count on one hand the number of times I have heard thunder, or seen a lightning flash.

One of the things I miss.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:43 PM   #8
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Those clouds, even if I KNEW for absolute certain they were totally harmless, would scare the crap out of me - they just don't look... right?
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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Yeah, if I saw #1 and #3 here in the midwest I'd check my drink for a mickey, listen for the sirens and dive into the basement
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:13 AM   #10
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For #1 and #3, I wonder how often that happens, but because of lighting conditions, we don't notice? It looks like because the sun is low on the horizon, the clouds are lit from the side, and below, causing air currents to show. Pretty cool, and yeah, I'd be running for the basement, pulling a mattress over me for sure.

For picture #4, I've seen that here often enough to not pay much attention.
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #11
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Default MAMMATUS OVER MANHATTAN

"Last Saturday, June 26th, after a summer evening thunderstorm, a bank of spectacular mammatus clouds formed over Manhattan," reports Snehal Patel of New York. "It was an amazing display that looked like large orange cotton balls falling from the sky."

Mammatus clouds, named for their resemblance to a cow's underbelly, sometimes appear at the end of severe thunderstorms when the thundercloud is breaking up. Researchers have called them an "intriguing enigma," because no one knows exactly how and why they form. The clouds are fairly common but often go unnoticed because potential observers have been chased indoors by the rain. If you are one of them, dash outside when the downpour stops; you could witness a beautiful mystery in the sky.

Full article here:
http://spaceweather.com/
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