Monday, March 27, 2017

Undulatus Terrifyingus (alternative, and more descriptive, name)

For years, individuals from across the world had been sending Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society pictures of unusual pulsating cloud formations, which look very much like underwater waves, trying to figure out what they were. These dramatic, even apocalyptic formations had no official name.
Yesterday, on World Meteorological Day — nine years after the classification was first submitted — the World Meteorological Organization finally recognized Pretor-Pinney’s clouds in the updated version of the International Cloud Atlas, though the name has been tweaked to “asperitas.” They’re the first new addition to the Atlas in over half a century.
Pretor-Pinney described the formations as “localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points, as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below. Varying levels of illumination and thickness of cloud can lead to dramatic visual effects.” Asperitas clouds tend to be low-lying, and are caused by weather fronts that create undulating waves in the atmosphere.
I still favor Undulatus Terrifyingus.  Much more descriptive of the feeling of impending doom one gets from the sight of them.

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