The Manifold Species of Heaven

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?

4 responses to “The Manifold Species of Heaven

  1. Colorado has pretty weird weather-we can have rain, sunshine, snow, and thunder all in the same day. Too bad we don’t get any interesting clouds-I’d never even heard of these before today. Oh well-sudden changes in weather present enough weirdness for me.

  2. Beautiful!! I love clouds. Thanks for this!! 🙂 I think I’ll go join the Cloud Appreciation Society 😀 I just hope it’s cloudy tomorrow. It has been for the good part of this week (Bangalore, India.) But sometimes we see all seasons in a matter of minutes! Blame Earth’s confusion on global warming, right? Reminds me, we ought to spread the awareness.
    Wow, clouds sure are some of the most fascinating things out there…

Leave a Reply to Nandita Chandraprakash Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.