APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by emc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:32 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:If you didn't have science to draw conclusions with and you wake up one morning to this, wouldn't there be some fear and imaginative creations bouncing around in your head ? Like the gods are mad ?
Which is no doubt why gods were so popular before science, and seem to be on the decline these days.
It does seem as you say Chris, mainstream man appears to become more and more enamored with himself as science advances and mainstream religion denies evolving.

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by rjanushan » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:02 pm

If you look close it it the dog from "The NeverEnding Story".

http://www.google.com/search?q=the+neve ... B852%3B480

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Ann » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:46 am

MargaritaMc wrote:
Ann wrote
To me, the picture looked like a huge somewhat brain-damaged brain, as if we were looking at the half-melted gray, now brown, convoluted matter!

Is today's APOD the picture of a brain sky? If so, whose brain is it, and what is the brain thinking?
I've been musing on this whilst doing some overdue sewing repairs, and my thoughts wandered all over the area of what 'consciousness' consists of, how we would recognise that thinking was occurring if the thinker was utterly different from us. Then, what do we mean by the term "Thinking"?

Then (there was a lot of sewing and it was uncomplicated) my thoughts trailed off to what forms life/consciousness/thinking might take on other planets in other solar systems, where evolution will have run through a different story to ours.

And on this one Earth we have SO MANY forms of life! Think of how impossible it would be to believe a fiction writer who invented the idea of caterpillar/butterfly metamorphasis? Or barnacles? Or - my favourite - SLIME MOULD?

So, maybe, somewhere or somewhen, there are clouds that are thinking.

Have you any thoughts, Ann?

M
All very good questions, Margarita!

I have a colleague who insists that all mammals are equally intelligent, and that we are nothing special. I don't agree with him, but I think he has "a bit of a point". For example, it seems certain that at least some individuals of some other species are self-aware. When seeing a reflection of themselves in a mirror, they can figure out that they are seeing themselves in the mirror and not another individual of their own species.

Also, some mammals may have mental capabilities in limited areas which are superior to those of most humans in the same areas. I once watched a documentary about the ability of sea lions to generalize among symbols and put symbols in different "bins". For example, the sea lions could tell the difference between letters and numbers, even though they certainly couldn't read. They were also amazingly good at the "complete the sequence by choosing the correct geometric figure out of four and put it in the empty box" test. They far outdid members of the general public who took the same test.

So I think that very many animals are conscious and capable of doing some thinking. But what about conscious clouds?

Back when I was a very enthusiastic Star Trek fan, I got myself a number of books containing "novelizations" of all the Star Trek episodes, including the animated episodes. It's been a long time since I read these novelizations, but I'm pretty sure that the Enterprise once came across a living, thinking organism whose body looked like a large cloud.

Who knows? Maybe, somewhere in the universe, conditions may be right for producing living, thinking beings with bodies that would look like clouds to us.

But thinking clouds are not found on the Earth, that much I am sure of. Still, it's fun to imagine that the sky above us is somehow alive. And as long as we indulge in flights of fantasy, why not imagine that we humans (and some bottle-neck dolphins and elephants and magpies) are the neurons whose activities get the huge sky-brain thought processes going?

Ann
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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Boomer12k » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:17 am

Looks like my blanket on my bed...messy...

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:18 am

Ann wrote
But thinking clouds are not found on the Earth, that much I am sure of. Still, it's fun to imagine that the sky above us is somehow alive. And as long as we indulge in flights of fantasy, why not imagine that we humans (and some bottle-neck dolphins and elephants and magpies) are the neurons whose activities get the huge sky-brain thought processes going?
That, and similar musings, are thoughts that I have played with for years. The emphasis is on "played" - but, the notion presents itself so forcibly when one is moving back and forth between consideration of the small and the large. Here, I am thinking of 'small' in the sense of, say, cells, which have a complex internal life and economy and a bewilderingly involved interplay of interactivity. I've recently read Candace Pert, The Molecules of Emotion and, although I found some of the latter part of the book moved into areas to which her science hadn't strictly laid firm foundations (and she also has the right to develop fantasies), the main body of her work was stunningly and informative. Despite my being married to an immunologist, I have been less interested in the Life Sciences than in physics, astronomy, even mathematics. These latter, though I have been and am still, a basic novice, utterly fascinate me: things biological and so on, have seemed rather dull and pedestrian in comparison.

After reading Pert, although I am still not signing up for Introductory Biology classes, I have become fascinated with the internal life of organisms and in seeing how every living "thing" , that we observe as a discrete entity, is, at other levels, also a collection of other entities and of processes. We can easily play with the idea of wondering what degree of 'consciousness' these entities might exhibit. And trying to imagine what awareness these cell-level entities would have, could have of us, or of me, Margarita, who is a composite of all of Them at another order of complexity.

And then I look, as it were, Outwards - and wonder what I, as a cell or part of a cell in a larger entity, could know of that entity.

And, yes, sci-fi has provided many a fertilising element to this pondering! Fred Hoyle's classic "The Black Cloud" seems very relevant in this current context. Terry Pratchett, in one of his early, pre- Discworld, novels, "The Dark Side of The Sun" I think, has a sentient ocean. Which propagates by the simple means of having someone take a small flask of its water and pour it into another, non-sentient, body of water. I seem to remember that he also has an entire planet being a conscious individual and taking part in inter-galactic debates!

Mmmm. I'd best stop. That all this thunkin' originated with a pile of caramel fudge ice-cream! :wink:

Margarita
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
— Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:52 pm

I have been a weather watcher for about 30 years now and have seen Asperatus clouds several times. Based on my observations, an Asperatus cloud forms when cool moist air - such as marine layer air, or more dramatically from a storm - flows under warmer air that is very near its dew point. This cool air can condense the warm moist air above it on contact with it. More, and often cooler air continues to move in, and lifts the warm/cold boundary enough to condense it if it's not already. The ripples come from the warm and cold air moving at different speeds and/or directions, and is sometimes enhanced from hilly topography.

I have uploaded two videos showing examples of this. They are a little subtle. Videos are best viewed in high quality.

In the first video, the asperatus clouds appear at eight seconds, and are located under the dark clouds moving closer.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
In this video, the clouds appear at 29 seconds.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Last edited by FLPhotoCatcher on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:26 pm

I think the clouds pictured over New Zealand are complex lenticular clouds.

Here is a photo of similar clouds. Here is a photo of asperatus clouds. The distinction might be blurred in some cases, such as the pictured New Zealand clouds. But the basic nature of asperatus clouds are that they are created by cold air flowing under warmer moist air. This cold air creates (atmospheric) gravity waves that propagate laterally, and are made visible by clouds that are between the two air masses.

Lenticular clouds are caused by the landscape (typically mountains) pushing up the air above it such that certain layers of air with sufficient moisture are cooled enough to condense clouds. The lenticular clouds therefore stay in much the same spot as long as the wind is from the same direction.

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:41 pm

http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/asperatus-update/
Graeme Anderson, an MSc student at the Department of Meteorology, Reading University, had decided to write his dissertation on the cloud, and was happy to trawl through the meteorological records for the dates and locations of the asperatus sightings we’d been sent to try and work out what caused the formation.
By studying the weather records and using a computer model to simulate the cloud, Graeme found evidence that asperatus is formed in the sort of conditions that produce mamma clouds (also known as mammatus), but when the winds up at the cloud level cause it to be sheared into wavelike forms known as undulatus. The conclusion was that there was a case for this being accepted as a new classification – one that is called a cloud ‘supplementary feature’.
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
— Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by owlice » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:50 pm

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Garthok Whisperer » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:05 pm

rjanushan wrote:If you look close it it the dog from "The NeverEnding Story".

http://www.google.com/search?q=the+neve ... B852%3B480
Falkor was a luck dragon

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by ta152h0 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:31 pm

I think it is time for a P3 to go up there and take measurements ( or a BOEING 737-700 )
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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:29 pm

MargaritaMc wrote:http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/asperatus-update/
Graeme Anderson, an MSc student at the Department of Meteorology, Reading University, had decided to write his dissertation on the cloud, and was happy to trawl through the meteorological records for the dates and locations of the asperatus sightings we’d been sent to try and work out what caused the formation.
By studying the weather records and using a computer model to simulate the cloud, Graeme found evidence that asperatus is formed in the sort of conditions that produce mamma clouds (also known as mammatus), but when the winds up at the cloud level cause it to be sheared into wavelike forms known as undulatus. The conclusion was that there was a case for this being accepted as a new classification – one that is called a cloud ‘supplementary feature’.
Asperatus are formed in the sort of conditions that produce mammatus clouds, but that is because the strong storms that form mammatus clouds can also form asperatus clouds from the cold air flowing from them. I don't think shearing has much to do with it, except it can enhance the wavyness of the clouds. This cold air is like a pool of water spreading from the storm. The top of this denser cold air is like the top of a body of water with waves. I have not read Graeme Anderson's dissertation (couldn't find it), but I think a key distinction of asperatus clouds from other types of clouds is that the cold air below actually causes the air over it to condense into a thin, smooth layer of cloud(s).
Note how this photo of asperatus clouds looks like water waves photographed from below: My conclusion is based on over 25 years of observation and study of meteorology.

The APOD showing "asperatus" clouds over New Zealand look a lot like these lenticular clouds that are also in New Zealand: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090121.html

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by BMAONE23 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:18 pm

Ann wrote:
MargaritaMc wrote:
Ann wrote
To me, the picture looked like a huge somewhat brain-damaged brain, as if we were looking at the half-melted gray, now brown, convoluted matter!

Is today's APOD the picture of a brain sky? If so, whose brain is it, and what is the brain thinking?
I've been musing on this whilst doing some overdue sewing repairs, and my thoughts wandered all over the area of what 'consciousness' consists of, how we would recognise that thinking was occurring if the thinker was utterly different from us. Then, what do we mean by the term "Thinking"?

Then (there was a lot of sewing and it was uncomplicated) my thoughts trailed off to what forms life/consciousness/thinking might take on other planets in other solar systems, where evolution will have run through a different story to ours.

And on this one Earth we have SO MANY forms of life! Think of how impossible it would be to believe a fiction writer who invented the idea of caterpillar/butterfly metamorphasis? Or barnacles? Or - my favourite - SLIME MOULD?

So, maybe, somewhere or somewhen, there are clouds that are thinking.

Have you any thoughts, Ann?

M
All very good questions, Margarita!

I have a colleague who insists that all mammals are equally intelligent, and that we are nothing special. I don't agree with him, but I think he has "a bit of a point". For example, it seems certain that at least some individuals of some other species are self-aware. When seeing a reflection of themselves in a mirror, they can figure out that they are seeing themselves in the mirror and not another individual of their own species.

Also, some mammals may have mental capabilities in limited areas which are superior to those of most humans in the same areas. I once watched a documentary about the ability of sea lions to generalize among symbols and put symbols in different "bins". For example, the sea lions could tell the difference between letters and numbers, even though they certainly couldn't read. They were also amazingly good at the "complete the sequence by choosing the correct geometric figure out of four and put it in the empty box" test. They far outdid members of the general public who took the same test.

So I think that very many animals are conscious and capable of doing some thinking. But what about conscious clouds?

Back when I was a very enthusiastic Star Trek fan, I got myself a number of books containing "novelizations" of all the Star Trek episodes, including the animated episodes. It's been a long time since I read these novelizations, but I'm pretty sure that the Enterprise once came across a living, thinking organism whose body looked like a large cloud.

Who knows? Maybe, somewhere in the universe, conditions may be right for producing living, thinking beings with bodies that would look like clouds to us.

But thinking clouds are not found on the Earth, that much I am sure of. Still, it's fun to imagine that the sky above us is somehow alive. And as long as we indulge in flights of fantasy, why not imagine that we humans (and some bottle-neck dolphins and elephants and magpies) are the neurons whose activities get the huge sky-brain thought processes going?

Ann
The largest creature in Star Trek that I can remember is the giant space amoeba from the original series from season 2 "The Immunity Syndrome"
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
The largest cloud structure was the cloud surrounding the spacecraft carrying V-Ger in "Star Trek The Motion Picture"

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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by bystander » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:57 pm

ta152h0 wrote:I think it is time for a P3 to go up there and take measurements ( or a BOEING 737-700 )
I think a Global Hawk might be a better choice.
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alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
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Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:13 pm

Just to note that I contracted Professor Robin Hogan, Head of the Department of Meteorology at Reading University earlier today.

He wrote
I co-supervised Graeme along with Prof Giles Harrison.  If you want to read his dissertation it is here:

http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~swrhgnrj/ ... tation.pdf

He ran computer simulations of clouds that provided some evidence that the conditions for mamma plus some wind shear produced clouds with an appearance similar to asperatus.  See the images later in his dissertation (e.g. page 63).  I'm not convinced that's the whole story though, but he only worked on the problem for a few months and we would benefit from being able to allocate some more manpower to investigate some other hypotheses (e.g. those he discussed in section 4.1).  What we really need are more weather balloon ascents very close to asperatus sightings, plus ideally some cloud radar observations. Until we have that I don't feel confident to make general statements about how asperatus forms.

The photo from New Zealand is quite simply one of the most magnificent examples I have ever seen!

Kind regards,

Robin.
Web: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/clouds
I post his email with his permission

Margarita
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
— Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS