Weather 101

Twelve new clouds named in the Cloud Atlas

For the first time in 30 years, the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, is updating its International Cloud Atlas.

In the update, they’ve named 12 new clouds, and they’re making it available exclusively online.

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The atlas was first published in 1896 to set standards for classifying clouds, which was important to people involved in meteorology, aviation and shipping. Its last update was in 1987.

Since then, a number of rare clouds have been spotted and recorded all around the world by weather watchers with smartphones. Many of those photos were then sent to the Cloud Appreciation Society, which has been lobbying to add more cloud types to the atlas.

The release of the new atlas makes them official, and years of hard work have finally paid off.

Two of the more well-known clouds being added are asperitas, which look like waves, and volutus, which look like roll clouds.

A few notable others include cavum (commonly known as a hole-punch cloud) caudal (also known as a tail cloud), and murus (a wall cloud).

The new release also comes with some controversy.

Contrails, or clouds formed from jet exhaust, received official recognition. Clouds that form from wildfires are now classified as flammagenitus. And they’ve even classified the spray from large waterfalls as cataragenitus.

The new cloud atlas was released on March 23, and you can see the entire publication here.

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