Showing posts with label nephology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nephology. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Adventures in Logophilia Day 27, 28, 29 (Jillian)

It has been a crazy handful of days, so we're playing catch-up here at Daedalus Notes.  So... here are three words for today to fill in the days:


Day 27.  A cabal (noun, pronounced ka-BAL) is a secret clique or faction (sometimes political) trying to overturn something or have their own way.  I attribute this word to Michelle, as she used it several times during our visit.  Beware cabals for those in them may not be aware they are cabalists (which is now a word, sort-of-rhyming with "catalysts", and therefore can also be spelled "cabalysts.").  They may be lurking in unsuspecting places.  They may be the reason for your inexplicable stomach aches or back pains.


Day 28.  Something pluvial (an adjective) relates to or is characterized by rainfall; it is ultimately from the Latin word "pluvia" for rain.  Yes, we had our rainy days aplenty in New England this last week.  Michelle and I spent a few afternoons huddled by the light-box, drinking tea. 

mackerel sky

Day 29. A mackerel sky (noun) occurs when the sky is dappled with rows of small, white fleecy clouds (cirrocumulus), a pattern which resembles the spots on a mackerel's back.  I saw such a sky when Michelle and I were on the boat after seeing whales, heading back into Gloucester, a testament to the near-perfect weather we experienced that day.  Whales, mackerel-clouds, water painted silver in the sunwash.  What more could one ask for?


And a whimsy for today.  The great Salman Rushdie, whose autobiographical work Joseph Anton was published recently, was quoted commenting on Fifty Shades of Grey in the Telegraph: "It made Twilight look like War and Peace." I laughed.

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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