An update to the cloud atlas.
March 26, 2017 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Pretor-Pinney described the formations as “localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points, as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below. Varying levels of illumination and thickness of cloud can lead to dramatic visual effects.” Asperitas clouds tend to be low-lying, and are caused by weather fronts that create undulating waves in the atmosphere.
posted by curious nu (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Does anyone know if they are actually a sign of danger, or just look awesome?
posted by honest knave at 8:21 AM on March 26, 2017

Huh. I had seen these clouds before, and thought the visual was incredible; like i was standing at the bottom of a stormy ocean, looking up. Always wondered what the phenomenon was called.
posted by dazed_one at 8:29 AM on March 26, 2017

And link to actual international cloud atlas, since I forgot that in the post.
posted by curious nu at 8:30 AM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's gotta be speeded up? Lots of fronts look amazing (and very different) in fast forward.

I still think a Lenticular cloud is the most awesome. They move very fast in real time and look just like a space ship from a 1950s SciFi movie.
posted by CrowGoat at 8:44 AM on March 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Neat. Although something about them unilaterally deciding to change the name disturbed me somewhat.
posted by Samizdata at 8:46 AM on March 26, 2017

Neat. Although something about them unilaterally deciding to change the name disturbed me somewhat.

I don't know enough Latin to know if Asperitas is a better declension than Asperatus, but I hope they wouldn't alter the name for no good reason.
posted by tclark at 9:10 AM on March 26, 2017

Atmospheric fluid dynamics at work! Those are some crazy, beautiful, ominous clouds. I'm guessing they are associated with a pressure change or stormy weather since one of the videos showed lightning?
posted by Secretariat at 9:15 AM on March 26, 2017

Well, I looked through the cloud atlas, and could not find the distinct herringbone clouds I saw a couple of weeks ago.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2017

I keep looking for more of these clouds, which I encountered northeast of Indianapolis, had never seen them before or since. Unusual in the flat lands around here.
posted by pjern at 9:55 AM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I remember seeing mammatus clouds (BOOB CLOUDS) as a kid, when I knew there was a tornado warning in a nearby county, and not knowing anything about the clouds and what they meant but having this deep instinctual feeling that THE SKY SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE THAT and really freaking out. Clouds are amazing that way - even if you've never seen one of that type before it's pretty easy to figure out whether or not they're a good sign. The links between clouds and certain types of weather was one of my favorite science topics as a kid.
posted by olinerd at 10:04 AM on March 26, 2017

pjern, those look like elongated kelvin-helmholtz formations (worth a solid 55 points in the cloud collectors handbook).
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 12:04 PM on March 26, 2017

I thought this looked familiar.
posted by Splunge at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2017

Mr. Pretor-Pinney chats about clouds and has written his own books about them.

He also knows a thing or two about waves. The watery kind.
posted by BWA at 2:04 PM on March 26, 2017

Beautiful and terrifying.
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2017

We tend to take in clouds in glances. At times fronts move quickly and we have taken a moment to look up and we sense the front in motion. I think we have the digital camera to thank for the discovery of these wave clouds. The easy access to high definition photography and video will reveal a lot more of a world, we have grown to ignore.

We are all gonna die, but we should at least die with a strong appreciation of the beauty, and mystery, of Earth. I learned over time, to let the experience of this world lift and stimulate, rather than terrify, me.
posted by Oyéah at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2017

We've got a storm coming in and on the drive home I saw some clouds that looked a whole lot like this kind. So cool.
posted by rtha at 5:12 PM on April 6, 2017

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