Telegraph: New type of cloud found - exactly what is causing them?

Telegraph
30.05.2009
By Richard Gray

New type of cloud found

Meteorologists believe they have discovered a new classification of cloud after the unique formation has been spotted in skies around the world.

Experts at the Royal Meteorological Society are now attempting to have the new cloud type, which has been named “Asperatus” after the Latin word for rough, officially added to the international nomenclature scheme used by forecasters to identify clouds.

If successful, it will be the first variety of cloud to be classified since 1953.

The new type of cloud forms a dark, lumpy blanket across the sky and has been sighted in locations all over the world,

“It is a bit like looking at the surface of a choppy sea from below,” said Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, who first identified the asperatus cloud from photographs that were being sent in by members of the society.

“We try to identify and classify all of the images of clouds we get in, but there were some that just didn’t seem to fit in any of the other categories, so I began to think it might be a unique type of cloud.

“The underside of the clouds are quite rough and choppy. It looks very stormy, but some of the reports we have been getting suggest that they tend to break up without actually turning into a storm.

The Royal Meteorological Society is now gathering detailed weather data for the days and locations where the asperatus clouds have been seen in an attempt to understand exactly what is causing them.

Full article

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