For this week’s nature challenge:
Let’s look up toward the sky. No matter what the weather is where you live, you have the opportunity to participate in cloud identification.
The National Weather Service has identified 4 main types of clouds: Cirro-form (wispy swirls), Cumulo-form (these look like cotton balls), Strato-form (think of broad, layered blankets), and Nimbo-form (rain clouds that can combine all three types). What can you see right now?
In reality, this is only the beginning of the cloud possibilities. If you include variations and optical effects, there are more than 40 different observable types. The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney is a great cloud reference resource. It even suggests a point system for different types of clouds so you can have a sense of its rarity relative to other types.
Now doesn’t that make you want to start a list to capture what you are seeing?
I recently discovered a whole group of folks who enjoy this type of observation. Check them out at http://www.cloudappreciationsociety.org.
Challenge difficulty is rated as easy unless you get into specific optical effects.