Aspirations for "Asperatus"
Posted June 15, 2009
The "aspirations" of the title are those of the Cloud Appreciation Society, which would like to have a particularly striking cloud formation given it's own official "variety" designation. The cloud form in question is being informally called "asperatus" by the Society, and some recent news items indicate they have been in contact with the World Meteorological Organization to potentially formalize the term as the first new addition to the official catalog of cloud names since the early 1950s.
The clouds in question make for some very dramatic photos, as they have a lower surface that is somewhat smooth and sheetlike, but with a chaotically disturbed appearance not unlike an upside down version of the surface of a body of water when there are rapidly changing winds, or a number of boat wakes crossing at odd angles, and so on, and the term asperatus was chosen as it is Latin for "roughened up."
The Society web site has a very nice gallery of cloud photos from "spotters" around the world, and they allow browsing the images by category. There are two pages of "asperatus" images, some of which are especially beautiful, and another fun category to browse through is "clouds that look like things" where you can find a cloud very nicely shaped like a duck, a "fire dragon confronting a submissive bear," and other neat shots.
If you're a fan of clouds yourself, or even just a fan of really nice scenic photographs, you're sure to find some images you like at the society's web page, which I've provided links for. In addition, I remembered that I'd answered a viewer question several months ago about some strange clouds she photographed in western NC. Although I hadn't heard the suggested name "asperatus" at the time, you'll see in the "Cloud Chaos!" blog post from earlier this year that her images match the description! Just type "cloud chaos" into our search form to turn up that post...