The wild, wave-like patterns of undulatus asperatus make them look more like storms at sea than cloud formations.
First photographed at Cedar Rapids in Iowa, U.S. in 2006, undulatus asperatus has since been spotted in France, Norway, Salcome in Devon, Middlesbrough and Perthshire in Scotland, reports Daily Mail; enough places that the UK-based Cloud Appreciation Society (CAS) has submitted it to the Royal Meteorological Society for consideration for the next edition of the International Cloud Atlas.
If the new formation is accepted, it will be the first new entry since 1951, and one of the more exciting ones, because not only do undulatus asperatus make the sky look like aliens are coming, but they’d also be the first classification discovered through crowd sourcing—average people taking pictures of new clouds and lobbying to have them recognized.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney of the CAS denies undulatus asperatus is a “new cloud,” as the media is suggesting. He told Channel 4, “They’re not new clouds, the clouds could well have been around for a long time in ways that are not related to climate change.” What has changed is average people’s access to high quality cameras to document them.