Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Friday, March 24, 2017

Out of this world clouds!

These clouds are not from earth, but Mars! The red planet does have a thin atmosphere capable of some weather and NASA's Curiosity rover has been recording it.

The rover captured over 500 clips of cloud formations during its 5 years on Mars. This latest video shows "Gravity Waves" .  These "cloud ripples" are formed on earth by  air trying to even out its vertical balance. 

Gravity Waves on Mars

Scientists hope that by learning how "Gravity Waves" form on Mars, it will lead to figuring out how deep the ice sheets are on the planet. This in turn may lead to a better understanding of the watery past on Mars.

For more Martian Cloud Clips, check out

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Get ready for new clouds!

On Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization will announce the names of two new clouds. They will be known as Volutus and Asperitas. (They sound like planets from the original Star Trek show). 

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is responsible for categorizing such things, will be updating its "Cloud Atlas" for the first time in 30 years.  They say, the new edition was put together with the help of the digital age. Pictures were submitted from around the world to illustrate all the cloud types, and so the opportunity was taken to add the new entries.
New Entries:
The first addition is actually a species of clouds known as, "Volutus". These are more commonly known as "Roll Clouds".

They occur within the genera of the better known, "Altocumulus and Stratocumulus".

Five other features are being added to describe clouds. These new terms are, "Asperitas", "Cavum", "Cauda" also known as a tail cloud), "Fluctus", and "Murus", (more popularly known as a wall cloud).

According to WMO, the best known of these added features is "Asperitas" (from the Latin meaning roughness).

Asperitas is the Digital Age Cloud:
Whats really cool about this new cloud type, is that it was discovered by regular folks taking pictures. Most of the stills were taken by members of the Cloud Appreciation Society. The founder of the group, Gavin Pretor-Pinney said, "With so many taken from around the globe, it was possible to spot patterns. This is how the proposal for a new classification came about, and we are delighted the WMO has chosen to include it in their definitive reference work for cloud classification”.

The International Cloud Atlas:
This reference guide was first published in the late 1800s. As you can imaging, it contains many descriptions of the clouds that cover the earth. The last time it was updated was 1987.

“This is THE world reference for observing and classifying clouds and other weather phenomena. The Atlas contains pictures, definitions, and explanations that are accepted and used by all WMO’s 191 Member countries and territories,” said Bertrand Calpini, President of WMO’s Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO), which oversaw the revision process.

For a complete cloud guide, click on  World Meteorological Organization