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Have You Seen An Undulatus Asperatus Cloud?

Updated on September 29, 2014
Undulatus Asperatus
Undulatus Asperatus | Source

Undulatus Asperatus - Clouds of Armageddon?

The breathtaking undulatus asperatus cloud looks very like stormy ocean waves, and is rather disorientating to see as these waves are upside down in the sky!

I have been very fortunate to have seen an asperatus cloud walking to work on a muggy humid morning. As I rounded the corner I looked up and the sky made me stop in my tracks!

The billows of the asperatus cloud I saw looked as soft and smooth as ripples of silk. I didn't have a camera with me so grabbed my cell phone and took as many photos as I could!

This page looks at how this beautiful and newly classified cloud is formed, along with a few of my photos. I hope you will find the Undulatus Asperatus as amazing as I do!


The Undulatus Asperatus is a Newly Classified Cloud - The first cloud identified since 1951!

The founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, is the person responsible for initially bringing this cloud to the attention of the Royal Meteorological Society as a potential "new" cloud. All clouds are classified into 10 major groups, with varieties and species. The last cloud to be classified and named was the cirrus intortus in 1951 - so this was big news for weather fans!

After founding the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2005, Gavin Pretor Pinney was inundated with wonderful photos of clouds from all over the world and one particular cloud kept catching his eye and that he couldn't identify.

After bringing the Asperatus to the attention of the Royal Meteorological Society, they then presented the data about this cloud to the UN's World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva. In June 2009, the Undulatus Asperatus was officially classified and listed in the International Cloud Atlas.

Take a look at this fantastic article from the Royal Meteorological Society, which gives the in depth scoop on the process of identifying the Undulatus Asperatus cloud.

Crazy Cloud
Crazy Cloud | Source

Undulatus Asperatus Facts - Learn how, why and when these clouds are formed

  1. The species of this cloud is "undulatus" which means "wave" In Latin. The variety of the cloud is "asperatus" which means "roughened" so the name literally descibes how this cloud looks, like rough waves!

  2. This is a low cloud and is seen at about 2000 meters (6000 feet).

  3. Despite their stormy end-of-the-world-is-nigh appearance, these clouds do not produce rain or a storm. They are most likely to be seen following convective thunderstorm activity.

  4. Asperatus clouds are formed by warm and cold air meeting, this causes a turbulant effect. The British newspaper, The Telegraph uses the metaphor of vinegar and olive oil meeting in a great article about this cloud, which describes the transition very nicely! There is some disagreement about this though from scientists, it is also believed that Asperatus can form when dry air meets moist air.

Timelapse of Undulatus Asperatus Clouds


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