Tag Archives: clouds


So this is ominous looking, eh?

This sort of phenomenon is called a fallstreak hole (or cavum, hole punch cloud, punch hole cloud, skypunch, cloud canal, or cloud hole…and I can’t tell you which of those names is the coolest ‘cause they all are). It occurs when the water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water is in a supercooled state (being below freezing but not yet a solid). When the ice crystals do form, the droplets around the crystals evaporate, leaving the hole.

Apparently they’re a fairly rare thing and have been (understandably) mistaken for UFOs.

Super cool!


That is one seriously looming cloud. It’s supposed to storm later; wonder where it’s going to come from?

Edit: no storm at all, haha. Just a lot of wind.


Y’all, look at this fantastic cloud boundary. So sharp.


I risked my fingers freezing off for this, too. It’s so freaking cold here right now, but it wasn’t cold enough to deter me from taking cool cloud pictures.

‘Cause that’s how I roll.

The clouds are doin’ shit

Me: *takes a grand total of fewer than 25 pictures on a 7-day cruise to Alaska*

Me: *goes to Mount Rushmore for the first and probably only time and takes approximately 30 pictures*

Me: *sees a weird cloud formation. Takes 50+ pictures of it*

‘Tis truth.

But in my defense, it was a pretty weird cloud formation (these are the two good pictures, haha).


Edit: these are Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds, also known as billows or fluctus. They are very short-lived clouds (the ones I saw lasted less than five or so minutes) that form when two different layers of air—one moving faster than the other—meet horizontally.

An Ode To Cumuli

Sung to the tune of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls

Oh won’t you coat the sky today
Oh block out all those UV rays
Oh and you never bring the rain
Flat bottomed clouds you give this rocking world some shade

Hey I was just a walking fiend
Who forgot to wear sunscreen
Thought I’d burn before I’d walk a couple miles
But then overhead you towered
Soft and white like cauliflower
Heaping cumulus, you done make this walker smile

Hey hey!

I’ve been walking, don’t you know
‘Cross the city, ‘cross the Bow
I’ve felt every ray of sunshine on the way
But when I’m beneath your shade
I feel like I could walk all day
‘Till the sun goes down and its rays you glow

Oh won’t you coat the sky today
Oh block out all those UV rays
Oh and you never bring the rain
Flat bottomed clouds you give this rocking world some shade
Flat bottomed clouds you give this rocking world some shade

Yes, I know there’s another verse, but this is all I remember coming up with on my walk this afternoon, so chill.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G…H, I, J, K, man I gotta pee

I just spent like an hour browsing around this website. Clouds are awesome!

This Week’s Science Blog: Look Up

(Hey look, it’s one of them TWSB posts! It’s been awhile, huh?)

So anybody who knows me knows I like clouds and cloud classifications, right? Well, so does (as expected) the World Meteorological Association (WMO). In fact, they published the first edition of the International Cloud Atlas in 1896 and have been updating it ever since.

Well, actually, the last update—meaning the last new cloud type added—was way back in 1951 (it was the cirrus intortus, meaning “an entangled lock of hair”).

However, thanks to people who really like to look up at the sky and try to classify all the clouds in it, there might be a new addition in the 2015 edition of the Atlas. The call for the possible new cloud type, the undulatus asperatus (“turbulent undulation”), arose in 2009 from Gavin Pretor-Pinney, a cloud enthusiast and founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society (I HAVE HIS CLOUD BOOK). He was editing selections of cloud photos for the Society’s gallery when he saw several of this new type of cloud which he believed did not fit into any other variety.

To gain further support for the new cloud type, Pretor-Penney worked with Graeme Anderson, a graduate student at the University of Reading, who wrote his dissertation on the undulates asperatus. In addition, many other cloud enthusiasts have continued to document cases of this type of cloud around the world with hopes that the WMO will officially add it in 2015.

Clouds, man.

A List of Things I’m Good At:

  1. Nothing.

In other news: Mammatus clouds!




We be gettin’ the Chinook winds, which explains why it’s so freakishly warm today.


It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Cumulonimbus!

I found the coolest book at Bookmans this evening. It’s called The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and it’s a half-serious, half-hilarious guide to the grey skies above us.

Using altitude as an organization factor, Mr. Pretor-Pinney discusses each cloud type, where they’re found on earth, variations of the main types, and provides awesomely-captioned photos. In what other book would you find the phrase “cloud pornography”? Or the caption, “Just as it is wrong to draw Christmas trees with the branches pointing downwards, it is also wrong to draw raindrops in the shape of tears. Children who insist on doing so should be severely punished”?

If you’re at all interested in the floating puffs of water vapor hovering above us, I’d give this book a read. It’s pretty freaking great. Totally recommend it!