Here’s an unusual cloud, the asperitas cloud, caught by Roberto Porto at Teide National Park on the island of Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands.
A year ago, this cloud wouldn’t have had an official name, despite many photos sent for years to the Cloud Appreciation Society. Thanks to the society’s founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the World Meteorological Organization finally officially recognized this cloud in the 2017 version of their International Cloud Atlas.
It was the first new addition to the Atlas in over half a century.
In an article at The Verge announcing the newly official cloud name, Pretor-Pinney described the formations as:
… 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.
Want to see these clouds in motion? Check out the video below by Alex Schueth, who caught them over Lincoln, Nebraska in July, 2014.
Bottom line: Asperitas clouds seen over the island of Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.