11 New Cloud Types Named—First in 30 Years

When satellites first began taking photos of our Earth it revolutionized the way we saw our atmosphere, providing images on a grand scale from above. Now the advent of personal tech, such as smart phones, is giving us a new perspective on the sky from below.

This increased use of technology is what prompted the World Meteorological Organization to add 11 new cloud classifications to their International Cloud Atlas, a globally recognized source for meteorologists. A far cry from simple white puffs, these 11 new cloud types roll, dip, and menace their way across the skies.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, believes that this democratized access to photographing and sharing images will help create a sense of interconnectivity and appreciation for how we treat our atmosphere.

These 11 additions are the first updates that the atlas has received in 30 years, and much of the change can be attributed to citizen scientists who can share and discuss clouds by uploading photos to the Atlas’s site.

The International Cloud Atlas was first created in 1896 and has been a resource of cloud types and photos that has helped train meteorologists for decades.

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