Feature credit: Johannah McKinney

Key Takeaways

  1. Asperitas clouds, also known as Undulatus Asperitas, are a rare and captivating cloud formation resembling rippling waves on the underside of the cloud.
  2. The exact formation mechanism of asperitas remains a mystery, with theories suggesting links to post-convective thunderstorms and interactions with mammatus clouds.
  3. Asperitas formations are associated with unstable atmospheric conditions, although they themselves do not produce rainfall. They might accompany other precipitation-producing clouds.
  4. The Cloud Appreciation Society proposed the addition of asperitas to the International Cloud Atlas, and it was officially classified as a new cloud type in 2015, the first in over 50 years.
  5. Despite its acceptance, the specific cloud type that hosts asperitas remains to be officially defined by the World Meteorological Organisation.

Asperitas clouds, also referred to as Undulatus Asperitas, are an extraordinary meteorological spectacle that appears as a series of undulating waves suspended in the sky. These rare cloud formations create an illusion of a turbulent sea when observed from below. The origins of asperitas remain elusive, prompting ongoing debates and uncertainty among meteorologists. One theory suggests that their presence may be connected to the aftermath of convective thunderstorms, while another proposes that they form as mammatus clouds descend into areas with changing wind directions.

Despite not directly causing rainfall, asperitas clouds have been linked to thunderstorms that occur later. Their formation is associated with unstable atmospheric conditions, which could also foster the development of other precipitation-producing clouds. The Cloud Appreciation Society, in 2008, proposed the inclusion of asperitas in the International Cloud Atlas, supported by captivating images contributed by the public. Finally, in 2015, the World Meteorological Organisation officially accepted asperitas as a new cloud type, marking the first such inclusion in more than half a century.

Although asperitas has gained recognition, the specific cloud type that serves as its host remains unclassified by the World Meteorological Organisation. Further research is underway, and it is anticipated that forthcoming editions of the International Cloud Atlas will shed light on the enigmatic asperitas clouds, unraveling the mysteries of their formation and characteristics.

Asperitas clouds, also referred to as Undulatus Asperitas, are an extraordinary meteorological spectacle that appears as a series of undulating waves suspended in the sky. These rare cloud formations create an illusion of a turbulent sea when observed from below. The origins of asperitas remain elusive, prompting ongoing debates and uncertainty among meteorologists. One theory suggests that their presence may be connected to the aftermath of convective thunderstorms, while another proposes that they form as mammatus clouds descend into areas with changing wind directions.

Despite not directly causing rainfall, asperitas clouds have been linked to thunderstorms that occur later. Their formation is associated with unstable atmospheric conditions, which could also foster the development of other precipitation-producing clouds. The Cloud Appreciation Society, in 2008, proposed the inclusion of asperitas in the International Cloud Atlas, supported by captivating images contributed by the public. Finally, in 2015, the World Meteorological Organisation officially accepted asperitas as a new cloud type, marking the first such inclusion in more than half a century.

Although asperitas has gained recognition, the specific cloud type that serves as its host remains unclassified by the World Meteorological Organisation. Further research is underway, and it is anticipated that forthcoming editions of the International Cloud Atlas will shed light on the enigmatic asperitas clouds, unraveling the mysteries of their formation and characteristics.

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#1

Credit: Witta Priester

#2

Asperatus clouds over the Lofoten Islands, Norway. © Ragnhild M Hansen

#3

Asperatus over Schiehallion, Perthshire, Scotland. © Ken Prior.

#4

An undulatus asperatus cloud in New Hampshire CRYSTAL LEE

#5

I think someone opened one of the seven seals. Photo by Agathman / wikimedia commons

#6

“There was not a bit of word about storms in the forecast. And then this monster random storm pops up out of nowhere – with the most bizarre asperatus cloud I’ve ever seen. And the lightning was spectacular. The only photoshopping I did on this photo was to increase the contrast in the clouds so it looked more like what the human eye was actually seeing – photos tend to come out flatter than the real image. So this is pretty much what it looked like – lots of peeps were outside, staring up at the sky at these weird cloud formations.” Credit: B.J. Bumgarner

#7

Photo credit to Johannah McKinney

#8

Photo: Danielle Maxwell

#9

It looked like the end of days (Picture: BNPS)

#10

Asperatus Clouds Formations.

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