It is no wonder I could not identify the type of cloud shown above that I made a few years ago until just recently. That's because the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) only lately classified it as Asperitas, 1 of 11 new cloud types the WMO added in March of 2017 to their International Cloud Atlas. This is the first update that the Atlas has received in 30 years.
Asperitas (formerly known as Undulatus asperatus) was first observed back in 2006 by a member of the amateur cloud-spotting group in Cedar Creeks, Iowa who sent a photograph of the unusual cloud to Gavin Pretor-Pinney, president of the Cloud Appreciation Society in London, England. After receiving more similar photos, the new cloud type was proposed but only recognized 9 years later this past spring on World Meteorological Day.
I first witnessed these dark, storm-like clouds as I drove into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario around dinner time on May 25, 2008. I was immediately taken aback by the unusual, somewhat apocalyptic formation that appeared like rippling waves. The Asperitas clouds covered the entire sky (360 degrees!) and I had never in my life seen anything like that before. I expected a severe storm to materialize as we were adjacent Lake Superior but nothing happened. In fact, the distinctive, but relatively rare cloud formation almost always dissipates without a storm forming.
As is typically the case, I tend to process most of my RAW images only a few years after I make them, sometimes not until years later! In this instance, it took me more than 2 years to process this image after coming across this series of images I made while working on my Ontario book, which was published in the spring of 2015. The caption which accompanied the image on page 128 read: 'Menacing storm clouds, Sault Ste Marie'. Now, I would write: 'Menacing Asperitas clouds, Sault Ste Marie'.
December 7, 2014
You've heard the expression 'f8 and be there'. Yesterday it was more like 'f16 and I was there' ! The point is that images are made when presented with an opportunity but opportunities don't happen unless you make them happen. The weather forecast for yesterday was for a mainly cloudy day but I decided to venture out in the morning anyway because I wanted to see if I could spot some snowy owls as discussed in the previous post. Looking at the sky, I could detect a small clearing in the clouds so I knew the sun would likely shine though at some point soon. Not seeing any snowy owls at the moment, I drove around trying to find nice subject matter to photograph when the sun did come out. I settled on this grouping of hoarfrost covered trees. The sun shone for only a few minutes but, in the process, I was able to frame the trees with a beautiful formation of clouds that lasted only too briefly before melding into an amorphous mass of white color.
October 26, 2014
We arrived at Raven Lake just in time to make a few images of a fiery sky reflecting in the calm waters. It proved to be one of the few sunrises / sunsets of the entire two week trip. Weather is often an issue for outdoor photography. Being there and being ready however can increase your odds of capturing some nice imagery, even if the light only lasts a few minutes! Thanks to Brad Smith for making this happen.
December 2, 2012
clouds ... water, sky, transience, beauty, ever changing, equivalents
August 23, 2012
Went to stretch my legs outside and saw the 'god rays' in the setting sky. Couldn't resist running inside to get the camera!