Agricultural Trends

The most beautiful cloud formations to marvel at


Sometimes, they can appear gray and threatening. Other times, on a beautiful summer day, they can loosen and brighten up the sky. Cloud formations come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are so rare that you can consider yourself very lucky to spot them.

Clouds always consist of water droplets or ice crystals. However, they can have very different shapes, densities and colours. Meteorologists differentiate between around a hundred different cloud formations. Some types of cloud occur frequently, such as cirrocumulus clouds, which even non-experts can recognise. Others are rare weather phenomena that have only recently been classified in the International Cloud Atlas. The Atlas is published by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and is the reference for meteorologists wanting to identify different clouds. After more than 30 years, a new edition was published in 2017. It now contains volutus for the first time: a tube-shaped cloud that appears to roll slowly about a horizontal axis.


Mammatus clouds

Mammatus are bag-like hanging formations. These rare cloud formations most often occur on the underside of a thundercloud, on the ice sheet. The ice sheet is the frozen part of the cloud, the rest continues to rise or simply disperses. The origin of such mammatus has not yet been fully clarified because this phenomenon occurs relatively rarely and there is not yet enough data to better understand the cloud formation. 

Undulatus asperatus

Asperatus (agitated) clouds send cloud lovers into raptures. This impressive cloud formation appears like giant, wild waves in the sky. They usually occur after thunderstorms and quickly disperse. Asperatus clouds are rare in Europe, but the phenomenon is particularly common in the Great Plains of the United States. They were proposed for the International Cloud Atlas in 2009 and included in 2017.


The volutus, or roll cloud, is usually seen low in the sky. It is shaped like a tube or hose that rotates about a horizontal axis and appears to roll forward. This rare cloud formation can occur during gust fronts before thunderstorms.


Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds

If two superimposed layers of air are flowing in different directions, you might be able to admire a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability – clouds that look like waves. Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are another rather rare cloud formation.



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