New Cloud Types Added

Posted by on Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Added supplementary feature asperitas (Stratocumulus asperitas),Burnie, Tasmania, Australia. Photo Gary McArthur
WMO Photo

The World Meteorological Organization has released its new, long-awaited, International Cloud Atlas – the global reference for observing and identifying clouds.

It was released for the World Meteorological Day on March 23rd.

The new Atlas combines 19th century traditions with 21st century technology.

It includes new classifications, including volutus, a roll cloud; clouds from human activities such as the contrail, a vapour trail sometimes produced by airplanes; and asperitas, a dramatic undulated cloud which captured the public imagination. It also features meteorological phenomena like rainbows, halos, snow devils and hailstones.

Most cloud names contain Latin prefixes and suffixes which, when combined, give an indication of the cloud’s character. These include:

Alto: mid-level (though Latin for high)

Cirrus/cirro: feathers, wispy

Cumulus/cumulo: heaped up/puffy

Nimbus/nimbo: rain-bearing

Stratus/strato: flat/layered and smooth



The Team

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