Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Asparagus clouds anyone?

Out at sea there are no shortage of clouds to look at.

With horizon uncluttered by buildings and trees you see a full hemisphere of sky, and learn to read not just where the wind blows from now, but where it will in the future.

But have you ever seen an "Asparagus" cloud? According to the Cloud Appreciation Society (no, not making any of this up) our standard definitions of cumulus and cirrus are insufficient and there is a category missing, with an example of this gap above.

This of course has nothing what so ever to do with the imminent launch of that society's latest publication, the Cloud Collectors Handbook - though that raises a more worrying question of how do you actually collect clouds?

A good time (probably the only time) to quote Basil Fotherington-Thomas "Hello Sky! Hello Clouds!"


Tillerman said...

Are cloud collectors a bit like train spotters? When I was a kid (in the days of steam) we used to have books listing all the numbers of all the locomotives on the rail network, and we would religiously rule lines under the numbers we had spotted. Do cloud collectors do the same?

Carol Anne said...

That is one impressive photo. We have some awesome overlapping lenticular clouds, with wonderfully well-defined boundaries, and then we have some really fuzzy buttermilk sky. And to make it even more awesome, we have low-angle sunlight picking out little bits and pieces.

The lenticulars indicate some pretty good high-level winds, while the buttermilk indicates very little wind. You're looking at a pretty sharp boundary between weather systems.

T-man, alas, train-spotting is much less exciting than it used to be, now that you're dealing with only a half-dozen or so locomotives. (I still think Chama and Didcot ought to be sister cities.)

JP said...

Tillerman: we have train spotters on some of the main stations here and to be honest can't see the point. Maybe it was different in the days of steam.

What is even weirder are there are bus spotters and tram spotters, to which can just go: eh?

Carol Anne: I wondered if there was some post-processing of the pic as its so impressive but maybe the cloud spotters just have a very big collection of photos to choose from