For the first time in more than 50 years, a new type of cloud could be added to the official classification system.
Looking like "surface of the sea on a choppy day," the undulatus asperatus cloud was proposed for official classification several years ago. Now, the cloud is even closer to making it into the new edition of the "International Cloud Atlas," which is reviewed by the World Meteorological Organization.
Cloud enthusiasts have proposed a new classification of cloud for the International Cloud Atlas. It's under consideration for the new edition and could be the first new cloud classification in 50 years. (Image source: Shellorz/Flickr)
WMO created a team to consider if undulatus asperatus should be included. According to the Verge, after its initial investigation the team recommended that this type of cloud be included in the new edition and created a definition for it. Asperatus is a "formation made up of well-defined, wavelike structures in the underside of the cloud, more chaotic and with less horizontal organization than undulatus. Asperatus is characterised by localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points, as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below. Varying levels of illumination and thickness of cloud can lead to dramatic visual effects."
The Royal Meteorological Society also recommended WMO add it to the cloud atlas in 2011.
Take a look at this recent time-lapse video shot by Alex Schueth in Lincoln, Nebraska, showing undulatus asperatus:
It has not yet been officially decided if it will be included in the atlas, but WMO's Dr. Roger Atkinson said the chances of it happening are "very high." He told the Verge that it might be named differently though.
"We need to receive advice from a proper Latin scholar," Atkinson said.
The man who originally coined the term undulatus asperatus, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, told the Verge that he's "all ears" for a better Latin term. Currently, the name asperatus comes from the Latin "aspero," which the Verge reported was a term used by the poet Virgil describing rough seas.
A few years ago when the cloud type was getting buzz in the scientific community, Pretor-Pinney, the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, National Geographic reported cloud expert Margaret LeMone said she believed it would in fact be identified as a new classification at some point.
(H/T: Science Alert)