New Cloud Types Defined - First time in 30 years!

Asperitas Clouds - newly named and loved by storm chasers everywhere.
If you’ve ever sat there with your 6m kite, watching, waiting for a roll cloud to thunder overhead and bring 35+ knots of Southerly awesomeness. Then you’re going to be pretty excited about this.

Weather geeks and storm aficionados are pretty stoked this week after the World Meteorological Organization announced that it has revised the ‘International Cloud Atlas’, adding new cloud types and classifications for the first time since 1987. While the cloud formations aren’t exactly new (well, one of them is, but we’ll come back to that later) the names for which have never been defined.

“Asperitas was first identified with the help of citizen science, enabled by modern technology. When Cloud Appreciation Society members send us photographs of dramatic skies from around the world, it is possible to spot patterns. This is how the proposal for a new classification came about, and we are delighted the World Meteorology Organisation has chosen to include it in their definitive reference work for cloud classification,” said Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, a group who had a huge part in the classification of not only Asperitas, but many of the other cloud types due to them posting videos and photos online.

Of particular interest to kiteboarders, is the Volutus Clouds, which translated directly from Latin mean ‘Roll Clouds’. Normally found below storm fronts, completely detached from the base of the main Cumulonimbus. Signifying a BIG wind change, these clouds are not to be ignored.

Also interesting, is the WMO’s decision to include contrails as a cloud type. Formed when an aircrafts engines produce water vapour at high altitude, these cloud types are completely man made and weren’t really noticed back when the last edition was published 30 years ago. Named Homogenitus, these are one of 5 new ‘Special Clouds’ classified.

Read the full report, and see some pictures of these amazing cloud formations on the World Meteorological Organisation's website right here.


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