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Earth Science

Sky Watchers Want Recognized a Newly Described Type of Cloud 166

phantomfive writes "In Iowa and Scotland there are reports of a type of cloud not yet recognized by the World Meteorological Foundation. It seems the cloud does not match any of the clouds in the International Cloud Atlas, and thus there is a campaign underway to have it included. Some have said the clouds look like Armageddon has arrived."
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Sky Watchers Want Recognized a Newly Described Type of Cloud

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  • alto-cirrus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conureman ( 748753 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @02:45AM (#29709181)

    In the olden days, when I was a kid, alto-cirrus were notable for their rarity. Nowadays, in California at least, they seem almost a daily phenomena. Climate change, perhaps?

  • Re:Mammatus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:59AM (#29709451) Homepage Journal
    I agree, it does look like a flat-breasted version of mammatus, complete with the similarly well-defined surface. However, one might ask why the instability does not develop any further into a full mammatus. So perhaps there is a qualitatively different phenomenon.
  • by rew ( 6140 ) <> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:29AM (#29709551) Homepage

    Two clicks away from the article, I found the name "mammatus lenticularis".

    Lenticularis are lens-like clouds that usually hang just above the peak of a mountain. These are caused by a warmer layer of air on top being pushed above the condensation level by the wind having to go over a mountain.

    These look like mamatus, but more creepy. Less regular.

    So referring to mammatus refers to the way they look. Referring to lenticularis refers to the way they form: In exactly the same way as normal lenticularis does.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @05:50AM (#29709809) Homepage

    This isn't all that interesting/new to me. Maybe I'm just not enough of a cloudy-scientist-type, but out here on the plains, I tend to spend a great deal of time looking up at the clouds (not much else to look at).

    Clouds like these seem to come around out here on the Dakota plains this time of year - aka during hurricane/tornado season. I've seen them a handful of times, and they are kinda freaky. I think each of the times I saw them it was due to several fronts of differing temperatures converging - ie, not just two fronts, but a hot and cold front, as well as another of unknown median temperature. Oddly, I don't recall any storms accompanying them, though there was a little dribbling a time or two as well as some very high up lightning.

    I'm pretty sure that this isn't a "cloud structure" so much as multiple cloud structures at different altitudes passing each other and possibly causing turbulence in the other layers - not a subduction, per se, but something like one. But what do I know, I don't even know the proper names for all the different clouds...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:12AM (#29710637)

    I am a meteorologist too.

    I remember, when I was studying meteorology, people expected me to be on some kind of first-name basis with clouds.

    "Hey what's that cloud over there?"
    "Oh that's a cumulonimbus capillatus but his real name is Bob".

    Cloud names are highly overrated by the uninitiated. Forget the impressive-sounding latin names. They are fanciful descriptions of the appearance of a cloud but they don't tell you much beyond that.

    I would go as far as to say that the interesting feature in this picture is the wave action at the interface between two atmospheric layers. The cloud just happens to make the waves visible. It is garden-variety cloud, hardly worth mentionning actually.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers