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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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  • I suggest (Score:5, Funny)

    by zapakh ( 1256518 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @02:40AM (#29709173)
  • by More_Cowbell ( 957742 ) * on Sunday October 11, 2009 @02:41AM (#29709175) Journal
    I'm not a meteorologist, but I love clouds and have looked at thousands of cloud photos over the years. Never seen any exactly like this. FTA, no one seems to dispute that these are so far undocumented. ... So where is the problem? Add a new cloud already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i am an expert on photoshop and i can tell by the pixels around the text that this is a photoshop pic not real
    • So where is the problem?

      Better question: So IS there a problem? Sounds like the World Meteorological Organization just hasn't officially said "yeah, new cloud." You have to give experts time to weigh in, the guy quoted in the article as saying this was still going over the data, looking at the weather patterns for those locations. And it's not like this scientific organization sits around in a commune waiting for new meteorological news to come in and act immediately. Next meeting those guys have, I'd guess they will officiall

      • by toby34a ( 944439 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @04:47AM (#29709597)
        There most likely is no problem. I actually AM a meteorologist (BS, MS, and finishing up my PhD) and these just look like some cumulus lenticularis- the formation mechanism is due to some waveform within the atmosphere that causes regular forms of condensation that appear like this. These are nothing really new, the sceintific basis is pretty good for these clouds to be listed. It's a 2-D wave pattern with a good airmass boundary. It's definitely neat, but it's not like it's earth-shattering cloud formation.
        • I guess that's the point open for discussion : is it a new cloud or not.

          I guess this is as interesting for meteorologists as the discussion whether Pluto is a planet or not , is for astronomers .

          Most people won't care as the name will be to difficult to remember anyway.

          • 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.

            • by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @11:52AM (#29711375)

              But what's his name? His story? Did he survive hardship to get to where he is today?

            • by mollog ( 841386 )
              I hope the meteorologists are still following their comments. I have a question. When landing in O'Hare, I looked out to see clouds formed in an obvious wave pattern. I'd guess the distance between the waves of clouds was in the order of kilometers or miles. The waves stretched to the horizon and wer aligned in a NNW to SSE axis. What would cause the clouds to form such an obvious harmonic pattern? What has a harmonic with a waveform measured in miles? The Earth? Is the Earth vibrating at some hugely low
        • and these just look like some cumulus lenticularis

          Thank you, that's the name I was trying to remember. I've seen photos of clouds that looked similar to these ones but they are a bit different.

        • I've often thought that someone could make some serious supplemental income getting pictures of some of the amazing clouds over Mount Shasta. There's a whole local industry revolving around crystal-powered Lemurian encounters and such. I've seen some pretty astounding clouds there occasionally, but never had my camera at the time.

        • Nope, sorry no cigar .. I have also taken similar pictures (my friend put them on facebook here [facebook.com]) and there is absolutely nothing "regular" about them
      • Well, it isn't really a cloud, it's more like a phenomen that only lasts a few minutes.

        If you fly a large airplane through a small cloud would you call the results "a new cloud type" ?

        The clouds we see here are formed by the hot&cold air just before a violent thunder storm. I have taken pictures of these clouds in France and they are really impressive.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:48AM (#29709407) Journal

      They are not undocumented, they do indeed have a name and are called "mammatus clouds". They just aren't very common. There are thousands of photos of mammatus on the internet.

    • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:55AM (#29709431)
      And while you're at it, also add this puppy [flickr.com]
  • 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?

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:45AM (#29709381) Journal

      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?

      In my day, clouds were rainbowy in color and had spirals and thousands of moving finger-like projections. We'd see them all the time on the hill where the mushrooms grew.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Laser_iCE ( 1125271 )
      At this point in time does anyone deny that our climate is changing?
      • Re:alto-cirrus (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:51AM (#29709419)
        The "Heartland Institute" who will also tell you that tobacco is safe are the main offender there.
        It was all a lot simpler 30 years ago before it became a magnet for anti-intellectual nutcases using it as the new soft target to try to prove that science is worthless.
      • Re:alto-cirrus (Score:4, Informative)

        by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @09:43AM (#29710767) Journal
        The question isn't THAT the climate is changing, but WHY and HOW the climate is changing. Is it part of the natural cycle of climate change? Is it caused by years of burning fossil fuels? Is it a side effect of cutting down the forests? Maybe it's tied to the weird sunspot activity, or the ocean saline currents. Perhaps it always happens just before the Earth's magnetic core switches polarity. Some say we are due for an ice age. Some say the Earth is getting warmer.

        There's no shortage of speculation, just of solid conclusions.
        • My speculation is that we are cycling into what should be an "ice-age" but that the anthropogenic influences are causing additional warming, pumping extra vapor upwards from the oceans and leading to enhanced storm violence and hurricanes. "Global warming" causing terrible blizzards, ironically. If, and when, we cut back on the atmospheric carbon, the natural cooling trend will hit hard and fast. Just my wild-ass guess, so try to control your flamethrowers. I am not a climate scientist, but I believe we are

    • 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?

      Cirrus clouds can be formed from airplane contrails. So most likely it's just heavier air traffic.

      • The FAA wants us to believe that, but air traffic has not increased as much as the occurrence of these clouds. You can see it just from big sky pictures; it's hard to find one without contrails in it today; it's relatively difficult to find one with 'em from fifteen years ago. Either something dramatically is different with the sky, or with the planes, and it's not the number of aircraft.

        • One of my Dad's neighbors here in Oregon has a site about the "Chemtrail" issue. I haven't bothered to check it out but the word on the street is that he needs aluminium cranial protection.

          • I just want to know what part of it is supposed to sound so implausible. After shit like Agent Orange and DDT (see Americans, copious spraying upon) it's obvious that the U.S. Government sees the citizens of the United States (and to an even greater degree, its servicemen) as little more than guinea pigs and sources of revenue. It may well be nothing more than a big wankoff conspiracy theory constructed by the mentally ill, but there's nothing implausible about the idea to me. Maybe that makes me a gen-u-wi

            • While I've seen enough "implausible" shit that is in fact being inflicted on us by our government to know it's possible, I just don't see how climate change is reasonable goal of our Evil Overlords. I could certainly be wrong about that, and I'll have a look into it when I have the time. Maybe I have missed something. As I mentioned, this particular individual is regarded as a crank by his IRL neighbors, but come to think of it, so am I. :P

            • I just checked out the neighbor's site, and his credibility REALLY took a hit when I realized that he's the same dickhead that has such a hard time understanding his water rights and where his property ends regarding the local right of ways &c. I'll try to contain my prejudice and look at some of the other sites, but HE's really cracked.

      • This is my leading theory, although as others have pointed out, the facts are often different from the obvious intuitive solution. I also recall airliners flying overhead as being a more significant and rare occurrence, so there is some correlation in that vein.

      • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

        What else has changed in the past 30years?

        1)Airlines have had the snot squeezed out of them financially since they've been forced to compete due to deregulation.

        2)The price of fuel has short through the roof.

        So, the airlines have turned to technology to squeeze every bit of energy possible out of those big engines. Watch a airplane takeoff in a cut sequence from any 70's TV show, and note the large black trail of unburned hydrocarbons, and compare that to anything you'll see from the mid-90's onward. Toda

    • by snero3 ( 610114 )

      Totally understand where you are coming from but wouldn't this make more sense

      "The formation has probably been around for a long time, but it's only now getting attention: "Before the Internet and digicams, people might have mentioned it to a few friends and that would be it,"

    • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

      Kudos for using the right alarmist code word. Considering the code words "Impending Ice Age" and "Glowbull Warming" have been an embarrassment to those using it it was the right call.

      • I'm not dogmatic about the "Climate Change" issue. When it comes to correlation of anthropogenic effects and and alarmist code words, might I suggest "Holocene Extinction Event".
        You may flame when ready, Gridley.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Perhaps you recently moved to California.

      • Good point. I was born in Walnut Creek, California, 1960. I've lived a few other places, (Waxahachie, Charlotte, Atlanta, Ashland OR, Los Angeles), but I've spent most of my life around the S.F. Bay Area. I spend a lot of time observing nature, and feel that I am qualified to share a few anecdotes. YMMV.

    • 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?

      Yes. It's called El Niño [wikipedia.org]. Perhaps you've heard of it?

      • Possible correlation, the first time I saw alto-cirrus were in 1973, although they were not exactly filling the skies. We also have had many years more recently where there was not a correlation.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @02:48AM (#29709191)
    Though I'm not sure I would want to store my data in it.
  • "Some have said the clouds look like Armageddon has arrived." ... Others have said, that once you enter the cloud, things get really foggy and damp... What's the point of this again?
    • What's the point of this again?

      No, these are argumentus roundillus. You're thinking of cynicus pointillus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flydude18 ( 839328 )

      It's not the ominous-looking clouds that worry me. If you read the article, the first line says "In hill country from Iowa to the Scottish Highlands..."

      The sudden and inexplicable appearance of hills in Iowa will keep me up all night.

      • "The sudden and inexplicable appearance of hills in Iowa will keep me up all night."
        Nope. Go find the hill, and sell tickets to it. You'll be filthy rich in no time!

  • More Clouds ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:06AM (#29709261) Homepage Journal
    ... for all those who suspect 'Photoshop':

    The Cloud Appreciation Society [cloudappre...ociety.org]

  • by Alioth ( 221270 )

    These clouds do have a name - they are called mammatus clouds. They are typically associated with convective activity. They are not unknown, and there are thousands of photos of mammatus clouds on the internet. We get them occasionally where I live. I understand they are most frequent in places like the mid West in the United States, but that doesn't mean you don't occasionally see them in other places - such as where I live, or in Scotland.

  • by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @03:56AM (#29709437)

    Rorschach Clouds. Seriously.

    I look at that picture and all I see are breasts. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm... Boobie Clouds.

  • So I will just say... those look really, really cool.

  • by rew ( 6140 ) <r.e.wolff@BitWizard.nl> 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So referring to mammatus refers to the way they look. Referring to lenticularis refers to the way they form:

      I'm pretty sure they're named lenticular because they're lens-shaped [crystalinks.com].

      • by rew ( 6140 )

        Agreed lenticulars are called that way because they are shaped like a lens. These form just like real lenticulars, but are less obivously shaped like a lens.

        So the Unix guys like to make jokes by naming programs "Yet Another Compiler Compiler" (I don't know what came before that, even though I'm pretty old by comp sci standards), Because that spells "yacc", the gnu equivalent is called "bison", another animal. Same here.

  • 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...

  • The king of all clouds.

  • Are we so hard up that we are now ogling cloud boobs?

  • WMO, not WMF (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux@ ... m minus caffeine> on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:28AM (#29710415) Homepage Journal

    not yet recognized by the World Meteorological Foundation

    Not surprising, since it's called the World Meteorological Organization [wmo.int].

  • Undulations? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Sunday October 11, 2009 @08:41AM (#29710491) Homepage
    I am by no means an expert or even amature cloud identifier, but those look like severe Altostratus Undulatus to me. And actually, ever since the summer of 2005, I've noticed them a lot here near Portland, Maine, when I never noticed them before. When they get well pronounced, it does look Armageddonish.
  • ... I'd keep well out of its way.

    I'd probably stay on the ground, actually, unless someone experienced in flying in that sort of weather was able to convince me that it was OK.

  • Is it just me, or is the headline for this article in Yoda instead of English?

    It seems like "Sky Watcher Ask for New Cloud Description" would have read more smoothly and been shorter.

  • ...that computing cloud I've been hearing so much about?

  • Of course there has been lots of discussion in the scientific community as to what kind of cloud this might be...

    Some have said that, with the bits coming off the top, it should be considered a bunny-cloud. Others have said that it rather looks more like a sea turtle swimming sideways, or a sailboat of some kind.

    Amidst all this discussion a few fringe theories have also emerged. One scientist said he thought it looked like a naked lady (though it should be noted he said the same about most of the clouds)

  • These are lenticular clouds. I saw a similar set five years ago in Alaska.

    http://garote.bdmonkeys.net/alaska/pages-full/day_31/20040616-083000-more_morning_clouds.html [bdmonkeys.net]

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel