Things Get Cloudier

The following sentence makes me feel really old: Things were a whole lot simpler when I was a child. I remember running home to proudly tell my mother that I now knew the names of all the clouds. Cirrus. Cumulus. Stratus. Nimbus. And the various combinations thereof, such as cumulostratus and cirronimbus.  I took a great deal of comfort from the fact that now I’d be able to look skyward and always have a name for what I saw.

Those days are gone. According to this article on the Nat Geo site, for the first time in 30 years, the International Cloud Atlas has named 11 new cloud types. Eleven. That’s a lot. I wonder if I’ve seen them all. Among this pantheon are cool names such as asperitas, fluctus and cavum.

The article goes on to say that these new designations came about mainly because so many of us have cell phone cameras these days, and odd cloud photos kept popping up that did not fit neatly into the 4 cloud system of yore. That’s the cool thing about science. The more you observe, the more you have to describe, and the more you learn.

And I have no doubt that I could add these 11 new cloud types to my knowledge base if I took the time. But will I? Probably not. I already feel pretty overwhelmed as a general rule.

That leaves me with very mixed emotions about this new development. I really liked it when the sky made sense to me. Oh, it’s still wondrous and beautiful, but now it’s… dare I say it? Over my head.

Fluctus-620x389
Fluctus clouds. Nope. I definitely haven’t seen these yet.

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2 thoughts on “Things Get Cloudier

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