Newly discovered cloud Asperitas (Latin for roughness) has taken another step towards being officially recognized and named in the International Cloud Atlas.
The cloud has been named Asperitas because it looks like rough or turbulent seas and has been put forward for inclusion in the Atlas by the UK Cloud Appreciation Society.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society said “It’s really exciting to see Asperitas that bit closer to becoming official. It’s great that the general public and amateur observations have influenced the atlas, it feels very democratic. The internet has resulted in increased connectivity, these days everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and this has resulted overwhelming evidence for this new type of cloud”.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is currently updating the International Cloud Atlas, first published in 1896, and has now presented details of the new cloud to the World Meteorological Congress.
The WMO are making the Atlas more user-friendly and accessible and expect to publish the new edition next year. It is also expected to include the new cloud species Volutus (Latin for rolled), as well as some new “special clouds” like Homogenitus (from the Latin homo meaning man, and genitus meaning generated or made).
Met Office Meteorologist and Royal Meteorological Society George Anderson is heavily involved in updating the Atlas and said “Science, technology and photography have moved on in the past 40 years, so there is a need to update the Cloud Atlas”.
Met Office Scientist, Graeme Anderson, completed a dissertation on Asperitas, for his Masters degree at the University of Reading. He said “The challenge with this particular cloud formation is its rarity. It is very difficult to get good measurement data from this type of cloud if you don’t know when or where it will appear, or how long it will last. It became clear to me that these cloud formations did not fit into the existing classifications. It’s good to see this update taking place to make the International Cloud Atlas fully comprehensive.”
A scanned version of both volumes of the Atlas is available on the WMO website. You can use the Met Office cloud spotting guide to help you identify different types of clouds, this can be a fun activity to try with children.