Atheist Granny suggested this post to me by posting a link to the article on my facebook timeline and saying absolutely nothing whatsoever about it. Sometimes, I can take a hint.
Behold the always beautiful, sometimes scary world of cloud formations
|Altocumulus undulatus (best name ever)|
Altocumulus undulatus clouds, Abruzzo National Park, Italy. This cloud formation consists of parallel bands of cumulus clouds. It occurs when a layer of altocumulus cloud is affected by wind shear. Also: Frimmbits Undulatus has a nice ring to it
Cumulonimbus cloud over western Africa near the Senegal-Mali border. Cumulonimbus clouds rise vertically until they hit a natural barrier, known as the tropopause, and then flatten out. Cumulonimbus clouds usually herald the onset of a severe storm. In this image, which was taken from the International Space Station (ISS), several cumulonimbus towers are seen underneath the main cloud, casting a large shadow on the land below. Cumulonimbus...I love cloud names!
|Lenticular, often mistaken for UFO's. This one is in Hawaii|
|Famous lenticular you've seen before|
The lens-shaped clouds form at high altitude and are usually formed when moist air passes over a mountain range and is heated without any transference of heat energy as it descends. The cloud pattern depends upon the wind speed and the shape of the mountains. A constant wind may produce clouds which are stable and remain virtually stationary in the sky for long periods.
|Lightning illuminating Monument Peak in Arizona|
|Mammatocumulus (yes, named after mammary)|
Mammatocumulus clouds over northeast South Dakota. Mammatocumulus (or breast cloud, for realz) is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. They can produce some dramatic and unusual patterns on the sky and are also associated with severe storms. I don't know if breasts are what come to my mind here but then breasts rarely do. I'd be tempted to call these Abinomichellan Tiremanocumulus or Cartoonfistsocumulus, but that's me.
|Morning Glory (photo: mike petrov)|
A rare cloud formation in various parts of the earth, it occurs most predictably over Australia's Gulf Of Carpenaria on the North coast. More information here.
|Pileus cloud, Sarychev Volcano, Russia|
Pileus clouds, also called scarf or cap clouds, are small clouds that form on top of a bigger cloud. In this photo a pileus cloud (centre) has formed above a cloud of volcanic ash from the Sarychev volcano. The picture was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Note too the ring of non-cloudy air surrounding the volcano that is thought to have been caused by the eruption
|rainbow spiral or noctilucent cloud|
Totally cool Noctilucent clouds are crystals of ice hanging around 80 kilometres high in the atmosphere that catch the light of the sun long after it has set on the horizon. Natural nacreous clouds occur at altitudes of 20-25 kilometres. The cloud in this image was formed from the exhaust of a missile launched from a distant firing range.
|Shelf cloud, Minessota|
Shelf cloud, Minnesota, USA. When seen from the ground shelf clouds appear as low, wedge-shaped clouds and are usually associated with severe thunderstorms. Ominous and looming much like the Lad when he's hovering around the stove waiting for dinner to be done.
|Steam ring, Mount Etna, Italy|
Steam rings are produced pretty much the same way smoke rings are made.
|Vapour trail illuminated by sunset over South Wales|
Sunlit contrail over South Wales. This image shows a vapour trail left by an aircraft lit by the sun below - so that it appears to be a fiery meteor.
Lightning strikes the ground from a supercell thunderstorm. Supercell thunderstorms rotate with immense energy, causing a strong updraft and severe weather, including tornadoes, hail, heavy rain, lightning and heavy winds.
|Super cell, Nebraska|
|Von Karman cloud vortices caused by Alexander Selkirk Island|
Von Karman cloud vortices above Alexander Selkirk Island, Chile. These clouds look like they have had a hole punched through them. In fact they are naturally occurring vortices crafted by wind patterns on the clouds. In this image these cloud vortices (swirls down left) have been caused by the peak of Alexander Selkirk Island (bottom left) disrupting wind-blown clouds.