Showing posts with label clouds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clouds. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Adventures in Logophilia Day 6: Nephology (Jillian)

Today's word is...

Nephology (noun) is the study or contemplation of clouds.

Yes, there is a sophisticated study-name for something we wouldn't think of. Cloud studies. That's a thing?  Apparently.  When I was in college and had to take a science glass (the second worst thing for an English major to have to do.  The first thing is math.) I chose the most elementary meterology class for the credit.  The most fun I got out of it (if fun there was) was the names of clouds, and what sort of weather they indicate.  I couldn't tell you much about that these days, but the names follow me.  It isn't prophecy, but it's the shape of things.  And it's always a lot of fun to discover a wealth of synonyms and alternative names for clouds instead of, well, clouds.

This fluffy formation here is your basic breed of cumulus.  The weather must have been excellent the day I took this picture from my dorm room five years ago.  Cumulus clouds develop 2000m above the surface of the earth - in other words, relatively low in the Earth's atmosphere.

Cirrus clouds are clouds formed at 6000m in the atmosphere from tiny ice particals.  I always think of them as the brush strokes of God, but I could be overly sentimental. 
We have several different layers of clouds here as they gather over campus (see the stadium?).  You can see the cumulus gathering into cumulnonimbus (gathering into a storm) with those low-lying nimbostratus clouds darkening the sky.  Stratus clouds are thick strata.  Cumulus are more often than not fluffy.

In this picture are contrails (yes, the exhaust trails left behind by airplanes are considered clouds), a little cirrus, and what appears to be (from my layman's eye) a smudge of middle-level clouds called altostratus.

This last picture is an awesome sampling of a cumulonimbus, also known as an anvil head or a thunderhead, rising over the bluffs of Fort Robinson, Nebraska.  There be a storm a coming!  These cumulonimbus clouds are the ones that produce lightning and thunder, rise all the way into the atmosphere and could spawn heaps of trouble, such as hail and tornadoes.

These are just a few of the many different species of clouds.  I find them thought-provoking and perhaps a little prophetic when I am out and about during the day.  It takes one silly writer out of herself, to look up and see something brewing up above.  There is never a dull moment in this sky.


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