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WMO celebrates World Meteorological Day with great news
Today, the weather community celebrates World Meteorological Day with a focus this year on clouds. And the World Meteorological Organisation has given us a surprise package that many have been looking forward to for years, with an unexpected twist.
Almost every day there are clouds above us - beautiful, delicate, powerful, intimidating - that provide us with the best free show on earth. They give us rain to nourish us but can unleash powerful forces that terrify us.
In launching the Day, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said "Throughout the centuries, few natural phenomena have inspired as much scientific thought and artistic reflection as clouds. More than two millennia ago, Aristotle studied clouds and wrote a treatise addressing their role in the hydrological cycle. And today, scientists understand that clouds play a vital role in the Earth’s energy balance, climate and weather.
“If we want to forecast weather we have to understand clouds. If we want to model the climate system we have to understand clouds. And if we want to predict the availability of water resources, we have to understand clouds,” said Mr Taalas.
WMO has used World Meteorological Day 2017 to issue its first revision of the International Cloud Atlas in over three decades. This is the cloud bible. It is huge, and covers in detail every cloud and atmospheric meteor known to man.
It provides standards for cloud recognition and reporting by meteorologists, observers and weather enthusiasts everywhere, as well as detailed descriptions of each cloud type's formation processes and distinguishing features.
It covers all the meteorological meteors often associated with clouds such as fog, all types of precipitation, frost, ice, duststorms and tornadoes. There are the photometeors such as halos, rainbows, glories and mirages, and at the other end of the scale the electrometeors such as auroras, lightning, thunder, and the elusive St Elmo's fire.
The International Cloud Atlas is profusely illustrated with photographs selected from thousands submitted, and represent the best of the best. There are flowcharts to help decision making between similar clouds, and case studies, including weather charts, satellite or radar imagery, and atmospheric soundings to help you understand how and why the cloud has formed. There's also time-lapse and video imagery to demonstrate the evolution of particular cloud forms.
Best of all, as that last sentence has just given away, IT IS ONLINE AND FREE, on its own website, replacing two huge books in the old edition. Enjoy!