New cloud species to be officially recognized?



London: The 'undulatus asperatus', a new species of cloud discovered by amateur sky watchers may become the first cloud type to be formally recognised since 1951.

The UK-based Cloud Appreciation Society (CAS) is lobbying for it to be formally recognised by the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva and be included in the International Cloud Atlas. The latter has not been produced since 1975.

If the CAS is successful it will be the first time a new cloud type has been officially recognised since 1951.

Meaning 'agitated wave', the undulatus asperatus was first photographed above Cedar Rapids in Iowa, US in 2006.

Since then the rather complex formation has been spotted in France, Norway, Salcome in Devon, Middlesbrough and Perthshire in Scotland.

In a bid to get it formally recognised, the CAS has been gathering many pictures of the formation and helping with academic research, mostly conducted at Reading University.

Meteorologist, Graeme Anderson found the conditions that cause undulatus asperatus were similar to mammatus clouds but with high-level winds shaping vapour into the waves and swirls.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, CAS' founder and president presented the group's findings to the Royal Meteorological Society.

"Observing the clouds is an important way of documenting the effect of global warming on the sky. Clouds may provide answers about temperature and climate change in years to come," Pretor-Pinney told The Independent.

PTI