|Altocumulus clouds. Photo by Steve Hilberg|
Most of us learned about the basic types of clouds some time in school. Clouds fall into general classifications as high, middle, low, or accessory clouds. You may be familiar with some of the specific names, such as cirrus, stratus, and cumulonimbus. What you may not be familiar with is how clouds got their names.
|Luke Howard (1772-1864)|
|Drawing of clouds from Luke Howard's sketchbook.|
Howard's contributions to meteorology weren't limited to clouds. He was the first to document the urban heat island, noting that temperatures in London were warmer at night than the surrounding countryside and cooler during the day. Howard published The Climate of London which documented continuous observations of temperature, rainfall, and air pressure. He presented seven lectures on meteorology and wrote other articles on the topic. Howard was named a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1821, the highest scientific honor at that time, for his work in meteorology.
You can read more about Luke Howard in the following articles: Luke Howard --"The Godfather of Clouds", a web site created by Dr. John Day. The Royal Meteorological Society has a web page, "Luke Howard and Cloud Names".
Cloud enthusiasts have a number of outlets and resources available. The Cloud Appreciation Society promotes interest in and photography of clouds. The Society connects clouds lovers across the world, and is the web site for everything clouds.
On Facebook the Community Cloud Atlas is a page where participants can post cloud photos and get help identifying clouds.
Clouds-online.com is an online cloud atlas that goes into detail on describing the taxonomy of clouds, including photographs and the ability to upload cloud photos.
Keep your eyes on the sky - you never know what you might see!
|An approaching shelf cloud. Photo by Steve Hilberg|