Well, Cloud of the Week fans, I've suffered a major set back. Shortly after visiting the University of Washington library to see the 1939 edition of the Atlas International des Nuages (International Cloud Atlas, I wrote to my favorite cloudman to tell him I was planning a trip to see the 1896 edition of this atlas at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He was, he wrote back, envious. And he admired my persistence in tracking down these early editions.
He himself had written a piece on cloud classification years ago but, he admitted, he didn't consult this atlas--the "bible" of cloud classification published by the World Meteorological Organization. "Frankly, he wrote, "the ID-ing for clouds has become a bit passe." Ouch! "I think it's seen as archaic now." Double ouch.
Just as I was feeling comfortable pointing to the sky and saying "Look! A cumulus congestus capillatus!" Just as I was ready to post another Cloud of the Week (after a weeks off) here. Just after I had laminated a two-page cloud key for my personal enrichment in the great outs of door.
Tossing aside cloud identification, he suggested beginning students of meteorology focus on learning just a few things: 1) Being able to tell ice clouds from droplet clouds, 2) recognizing the signs of an advancing storm, and, 3) because we are in Puget Sound, recognizing the Convergence Zone. This can be accomplished without books, laminated keys, or blogs--just "by eyeballing and nothing more."
This is a way more practical approach to the clouds. It is, however, an approach from a Real Scientist interested in weather and not an Accidental Naturalist with quirky passion for archaic Latin nomenclature, the poetry of clouds, and old atlases published in French.
Fortunately, there is room for both on my blog and in my book. So, I will post more Clouds of the Week and will begin to tackle the three essentials listed above. I would hate you to feel outmoded by what you learn here.
|"Nuages isoles, delicats, a texture fibreuse, |
sans ombres propres, generalment de
couleur blanche, souvent d'un eclat soyeux."