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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas


Nacreous clouds over USA McMurdo Station, Antarctica (credit: NASA, Wikipedia)


You may have missed World Meteorological Day. Designated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the day celebrates clouds and their importance to environments worldwide. Whether cloud forests, marine coastal fogs, or thunderstorm fronts, they are everywhere.

In recognition, the UN weather agency expanded the International Cloud Atlas as a reference for observing and identifying clouds, an essential component of global weather, climate, and the water (hydrologic) cycle. The online resource identifies new forms such as asperitas, cavum (fallstreak hole), cauda (tail), fluctus (wave), and murus (wall) clouds that join the list of better known cirrus, lenticular, and cumulus formations.


        Asperitas Clouds (credit: Wikipedia/WHO)                               Fluctus Clouds (credit: WMO)

 According to Finnish meteorologist Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the WMO:

Throughout the centuries, few natural phenomena have inspired as much scientific thought and artistic reflection as clouds. More than two millennia ago, Aristotle studied clouds and wrote a treatise addressing their role in the hydrological cycle, and today, scientists understand that clouds play a vital role in the Earth’s energy balance, climate, and weather.

Several of the new cloud forms were nominated by the Cloud Appreciation Society that says everyone should love clouds. You might wish to join and become a 'cloud-spotter' and have a cloud recognized in a future atlas. WHB

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