Author Topic: International Cloud Atlas, including pretty pictures  (Read 238 times)

Glaurung

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International Cloud Atlas, including pretty pictures
« on: March 23, 2017, 08:04:09 PM »
Today, the BBC published a news article about the International Cloud Atlas, which I didn't previously know of. It's described thus: "The atlas, which dates back to the 19th Century, is the global reference book for observing and identifying clouds." It's been updated for the first time since 1987, with some additional cloud types, and it's now online, with lots of pictures to help identification.

So, here's the website: https://www.wmocloudatlas.org/ - many of the pictures are in the pages under Definitions of Clouds.

For those particularly enthused by all this, there is also the Cloud Appreciation Society, whose efforts have led to some of the cloud features now included in the new Atlas.

Jubal

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Re: International Cloud Atlas, including pretty pictures
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2017, 11:44:27 PM »
So are these new "cloud types" mostly just identified by look? I can't help feeling there ought to be something more physics-y behind it ideally...
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Glaurung

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Re: International Cloud Atlas, including pretty pictures
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 08:30:38 AM »
As far as I can tell from the article and a scan through some of the Atlas (yes, mainly the pictures) the various types and features are all identified by appearance - it feels rather like nineteenth-century biology. I have a feeling that a lot of the "new" features have been included on the basis of "well, we're seeing this quite often, we ought to have a name for it".

I think the basic physics is well-understood, but much of the detail is probably not: atmospheric physics is all about the fluid dynamics and thermodynamics of non-equilibrium systems, in regimes where exact solutions are not possible and you have to work with numerical models and simulations.

Jubal

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Re: International Cloud Atlas, including pretty pictures
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 01:29:54 AM »
Hm, yes; it's interesting that there are still some sciences in that observational state/phase.
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