(METEOROLOGYNEWS.com) In the first new cloud type to be officially designated in over 50 years, members of the Cloud Appreciation Society are pushing for official recognition of the undulating, ominous-appearing clouds.
The Cloud Appreciation Society has designated the clouds as “Undulus Asperatus” or alternatively, “Undulatus Asperatus.”Â The Latin term translates loosely as “turbulent undulation.”Â Such clouds are relatively rare, but have been photographed in several areas around the world.
The ominous-looking clouds have been particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following convective thunderstorm activity.Â These clouds are not considered a precursor to severe weather, rather appear to form following rain or thunderstorm activity.
Jane Wiggins of Cedar Rapids, Iowa recently captured several spectacular images of the new cloud type as viewed from a downtown office building.Â Several of her images have recently been published by National Geographic Magazine – an honor which Wiggins does not take lightly.
“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.