A new kind of cloud

You probably didn’t know that there’s a Cloud Appreciation Society that recognizes new types of clouds.  A new one has recently been named, the first since 1951.  It’s the asperatus cloud (or, formally, Undulatus asperatus—clouds seemed to be named like organisms!), a strange, undulating formation that’s been described as looking like the surface of a rolling sea.  They’re apparently rare, and their formation mysterious.  But they’re gorgeous.  Has anybody seen these?

Check out the Cloud Appreciation Society’s gallery, with about 6500 photos of clouds, classified by type. There’s also a nice section on “clouds that look like things.”


  1. Jeremy Stangroom
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The first two of those look like HDR photographs. If so, then it’s possible they’re entirely misleading.

    • horrabin
      Posted August 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      #1 was definitely tweaked…look at the halos around the telephone poles and trees.

  2. mike m
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Down side up lava flows.

  3. Leomar
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink


  4. jdhuey
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen clouds like that over Indianapolis a few times. They were strange looking but I didn’t know that they were uncategorized.

  5. ennui
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink


    • daveau
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Prove that it’s not! 😉

  6. Scott farray
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I saw some of these clouds in cheyenne, WY while golfing one morning. I was a meteorology student at the time and had no idea what they were.


    • Scott farray
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      sorry about the bad link above. click on back to album and the image is half way down the page.

  7. daveau
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Is it just me that can’t get to their website? I wonder if Jerry’s link has brought them to their knees. If true, congrats!

    I wonder how these are formed. Like a standing lenticular cloud that is formed from high winds off a mountain. The bottom 2 seem to be mountain related. Curious if there is a mountain in the first one out of frame.

  8. mk
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Looks a little like Starry Night.


    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      That was my first reaction also. Vincent in the clouds with his brushes and paint.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      That’s interesting. The first thing to pop into my mind was Edvard Munch.

      • Juicyheart
        Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Totally. The Scream.

        • mk
          Posted August 28, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Maybe these clouds are not that new after all!

  9. Sili
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I prefer Mammatus, myself.

  10. Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    No and I don’t necessarily want to. They look like very bad omens of some sort.

  11. still learning
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh! I used to check that site daily but had forgotten about it…thanks for the reminder. Those photos do look like harbingers of serious weather.

  12. MadScientist
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    top one: no

    middle: maybe – or perhaps the coloring triggers a memory from my days in the Az dessert.

    bottom: no

    They’re very pretty clouds though. I saw some pretty clouds last week but was too lazy to get my digital camera and take some photos – there were curly filaments going every which way.

  13. Voss
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I was living in Pasco, WA in 1980 when Mount St Helens erupted. About an hour later, clouds similar to the first photo rolled over town.

    I wonder if airbourne particulates may be involved in the photos shown here.


  14. Julie Firth
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    My Dad took a picture of that cloud formation last Spring before a big storm. I had never seen that formation before!

    He took an amazing picture of those clouds that morning.

%d bloggers like this: