Attention All Cloudspotters
You can’t look around when you’re looking up, so we’ve had a look around for you.
If you have cloud news that you think we should include here, please email it to us at: email@example.com.
There are may ways of engaging with the sky, and when we are in the mood for sweeping generalisations it can feel as if there is a ‘male’ approach to the sky, involving nerdy cloud classifications, weather forecasting, and the like, as well as a ‘female’ one, focussing on the emotional quality of clouds and how they stimulate our imaginations. These stereotypes came to mind when we came across this 1733 poem by Dr Thomas Sheridan (1687-1738). Searching for some way to encapsulate womankind, Sheridan hit upon the idea that you can compare a lady to a cloud. He wrote this poem on the subject to his good friend, the famous 18th-Century satirist Jonathan Swift. Swift subsequently replied with a poem arguing that clouds are nothing like ladies, which is far too bawdy to repeat here.
A New Simile for The Ladies
by Dr Thomas Sheridan
I often tried in vain to find
A simile for womankind,
A simile, I mean, to fit ‘em,
In every circumstance to hit ‘em.
Through every beast and bird I went,
I ransack’d every element;
And, after peeping through all nature,
To find so whimsical a creature,
A cloud presented to my view,
And straight this parallel I drew:
Clouds turn with every wind about,
They keep us in suspense and doubt,
Yet, oft perverse, like womankind,
Are seen to scud against the wind:
And are not women just the same?
For who can tell at what they aim?
Clouds keep the stoutest mortals under,
When, bellowing, they discharge their thunder:
So, when the alarum-bell is rung,
Of Xanti’s everlasting tongue,
The husband dreads its loudness more
Than lightning’s flash, or thunder’s roar.
Clouds weep, as they do, without pain;
And what are tears but women’s rain?
The clouds about the welkin roam:
And ladies never stay at home.
The clouds build castles in the air,
A thing peculiar to the fair:
For all the schemes of their forecasting,
Are not more solid nor more lasting.
A cloud is light by turns, and dark,
Such is a lady with her spark;
Now with a sudden pouting gloom
She seems to darken all the room;
Again she’s pleased, his fear’s beguiled,
And all is clear when she has smiled.
In this they’re wondrously alike,
(I hope the simile will strike,)
Though in the darkest dumps you view them,
Stay but a moment, you’ll see through them.
The clouds are apt to make reflection,
And frequently produce infection;
So Celia, with small provocation,
Blasts every neighbour’s reputation.
The clouds delight in gaudy show,
(For they, like ladies, have their bow;)
The gravest matron will confess,
That she herself is fond of dress.
Observe the clouds in pomp array’d,
What various colours are display’d;
The pink, the rose, the violet’s dye,
In that great drawing-room the sky;
How do these differ from our Graces,
In garden-silks, brocades, and laces?
Are they not such another sight,
When met upon a birth-day night?
The clouds delight to change their fashion:
(Dear ladies, be not in a passion!)
Nor let this whim to you seem strange,
Who every hour delight in change.
In them and you alike are seen
The sullen symptoms of the spleen;
The moment that your vapours rise,
We see them dropping from your eyes.
In evening fair you may behold
The clouds are fringed with borrow’d gold;
And this is many a lady’s case,
Who flaunts about in borrow’d lace.
Grave matrons are like clouds of snow,
Their words fall thick, and soft, and slow;
While brisk coquettes, like rattling hail,
Our ears on every side assail.
Clouds, when they intercept our sight,
Deprive us of celestial light:
So when my Chloe I pursue,
No heaven besides I have in view.
Thus, on comparison, you see,
In every instance they agree;
So like, so very much the same,
That one may go by t’other’s name.
Let me proclaim it then aloud,
That every woman is a cloud.
Katherine Meadowcroft recently sent us a link to her blog “Humble, All Too Humble” and her recent post “Head, heart and soul in the Clouds”.
It is an article exploring the appreciation of clouds in art and is beautifully written… ” Diaphanous clouds metaphorically nod to life’s permutations and impermanence. One need only beckon the natural world to remind us, it is here, right now, that we must pay attention, because in a flash it changes”.
Click here to read the full article.
Thanks to H Brown for sending us the link to SentIntoSpace.com. Here you will find everything you need to capture your own beautiful images of the thin blue line of the atmosphere and the blackness of space. To find out more please visit their website.
Thanks to Sherry Palmer for telling us about this item on the National Public Radio website. The video shows a rare total cloud inversion which took place in the Grand Canyon on Thursday, 11th December, filling the huge void with what looks like a rolling white fog. You can see more on the National Public Radio website
We wholeheartedly support the campaign by the Tottenham Civic Society to save 7 Bruce Grove, Tottenham, London, which is a Grade II Listed building in a state of severe dereliction and in danger of falling down. Once a fine Georgian townhouse, it was the home of Luke Howard, who, in 1802, proposed a system for classifying clouds. Howard came up with the names ‘Cumulus’, ‘Cirrus’ and ‘Stratus’ and his naming system is still in use today. 7 Bruce Grove is the only building in this London area to bear a blue plaque. This simply says:
Luke Howard (1772-1864) ‘Namer of Clouds’ lived and died here
Due to its severe state of repair, the building is on the English Heritage ‘At Risk Register’. Please add your name to this petition for the local council to force Redwing Estates Ltd, which owns the 7 Bruce Grove, to undertake urgent and essential works. We can’t allow this historic home of the man who did so much for the love of the sky to crumble to the ground.
Thanks go to Cloud Appreciation Society members Laurence Green and Bernard L Reymond who both sent us the link to this amazing image that appeared on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. The picture was taken by Eric Nguyen in 2004 and shows a Tornado and Rainbow Over Kansas. Eric is a storm chaser and you can read more about how and when he captured his image here
Cloudsform is an ambient musician strongly inspired by clouds. He is working on a new album right now and his next song could be inspired by your photography of clouds.
All you have to do is to tag your photo with #cloudsform on Instagram. This photography would appear on his site as the inspiration.
Thank you to Mirka Biel for bringing this project to our attention.
The Royal Meteorological Society is putting together a special Young Persons edition of their Weather magazine, to be published next summer. The guest editor, 16 year old Daniel Brener from Berkhamsted, is now looking for articles and images to be submitted for the magazine. These should be written by individuals or small groups of people, between the ages of 7 and 21. Articles can be short (around 300 words) or up to 2000 words.
We welcome contributions on all aspects of weather, including climatology, oceanography, historical meteorology and related environmental matters. Submissions might cover;
o weather related fieldwork,
o cross curricula weather projects,
o local weather events,
o investigations into community memories of extreme weather,
o weather balloon launches,
o anything else!
The deadline for submitting articles or images is 5th December 2014.
They should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our thanks to Society members Veronica Bryan, no. 24,855 and Kim Ter-Horst, no. 14,256, for drawing our attention the fallstreak hole cloud formation that hit the headlines in Australia after being spotted by residents of Wonthaggi, Victoria.
News.com.au reported on their website that Michael Efron, forecaster at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, reassured locals that the sight was a natural weather phenomenon. Unfortunately, he incorrectly described the rainbow colours appearing in the cloud as iridescence. In fact, the optical phenomenon is a circumhorizon arc, which can appear as sunlight passes through hexagonal-plate shaped ice crystals a high cloud. See the article here.
Alan Eustace, 57, a senior vice president of Google and Cloud Appreciation Society member number 32,261 recently broke the world record for sky-diving from the stratosphere. The New York Times reported on this amazing feat quoting Mr Eustace “It was a wild, wild ride,” he said. “I hugged on to the equipment module and tucked my legs and I held my heading”.
The total fall was over 25 miles in 15 minutes – the complete story and video can be seen on the The New York Times website.
Thank you to Peter Dickman for drawing this to our attention.