September 20, 2012
New Cloud Formation, Undulatus Asperatus, Seeks Official Status
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
A new variety of cloud is attempting to be officially added to the classification system after first being discovered in 1951.
Meteorologists and "cloudspotters" are looking to formally add undulatus asperatus clouds, or "agitated waves," to the official list of cloud species. The clouds look like a fluffy blanket that cover part or all of the sky.
The United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva has the final say in cloud classification, but it may be a few years until the cloud species gets its official status.
The cloud formation was officially proposed as a separate cloud classification by the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2009.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society, began working with the Royal Meteorological Society to promote the cloud type.
The clouds are most closely related to undulatus clouds and are commonly found in the Plains states of the U.S.
The Royal Meteorological Society began gathering evidence of the type of weather patterns in which undulatus asperatus clouds appear back in June 2009. They are studying how they form and are trying to determine whether they are distinct from other undulatus clouds.
USA Today reported that a new iPhone app is coming from the Cloud Appreciation Society that could help gather sightings of the clouds. That data would be added to help study how the clouds are formed.
By using geo-tagging in the iPhone app, researchers will be able to know the exact location and weather conditions at the time the photo was taken.
Pretor-Pinney told USA Today that it may be a while until the agitated wave clouds get their deserved status. He said the last time WMO did a new edition of the International Cloud Atlas was in 1975.