Cloud scientists have been hard at work for many years, researching, analyzing, and classifying the elements of the sky. Allow me to present a brief summary of their conclusions:
1. Clouds are weird.
2. There are, like, a lot of different kinds.
3. We are going to name every single different kind of cloud that exists in the world.
Take the photo above, for instance, which looks like it was snapped somewhere inside of a jellyfish. This cloud type is known as Undulatus asperatus by its supporters. Yes, I said “supporters.” It isn’t an official scientific cloud type yet, but it has lots of fans who want it to be. One such fan is the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society.
Yes, I said “Cloud Appreciation Society.” Stay with me here.
Or how about this:
This fine specimen of Cumulonimbus arcus is also known as a “shelf cloud” for its low, horizontal shape. It often indicates the coming of a storm, or, as in the photo above, possibly the Apocalypse.
Another shelf cloud:
You may notice that these scientific cloud names sound a lot like the scientific names of animals: Latin, with a genus and a species. That’s because, believe it or not, clouds are classified by genus and species too. Meteorologists do not mess around.
Or maybe they do. Check out this happy little Harbinger of the End Times:
That formation is known as Cumulonimbus mammatus. One of my friends at work calls this the “boob cloud,” for reasons I hope are straightforward. In fact, scientists call it that too: “mammatus” is Latin for “breast.”
Just don’t make ‘em angry:
You won’t like them when they’re angry.
For a frighteningly complete list of cloud types, complete with pretty pictures, you can skim this Wiki page.
What’s the weather like in your area?