A few days ago, someone sent the BBC a photograph of a UK-shaped cloud – quite remarkable, isn’t it? Yesterday when I was mentioning this to Graeme here at Education Quizzes, he looked out of the window and immediately spotted an alien-shaped cloud wearing sunglasses! By the time I’d looked out to see it, it had disappeared – spooky huh?
Clouds are fantastic for spotting shapes. I often see faces and animals with plenty of dragons, dogs and elephants for some reason. Humans are good at making faces where they don’t exist. It’s called pareidolia (pronounced parr-i-doh-lee-a).
The summer days are ideal for cloud-gazing. You can lie on the grass and simply watch the clouds drift by. It might be worth having a camera or phone nearby so you can snap any fabulous ones that pass overhead. After all, I bet the person who spotted the UK-shaped cloud didn’t have long before it dispersed.
How many clouds can you name? Here are some of the most common:
- Cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus. These are all high-level clouds usually above 5,500 metres
- Altocumulus and altostratus. These are middle-level clouds between 2,000 and 7,000 metres
- Stratocumulus and stratus. These are low-level clouds usually below 2,000 metres
- Cumulonimbus, cumulus and nimbostratus. These are vertical clouds
You might think it’s a bit nutty practising the art of cloudspotting. However, it’s a whole new world and there’s even a Cloud Appreciation Society – honest, google it if you don’t believe me!