1. Clouds and
Cloudscapes are the greatest FREE SHOW ON EARTH.
It costs not a penny to look up and feast your eyes on the view
(or, if you are confined indoors, to look out and up and see).
2. Clouds are
never exactly the same. They are
never boring, despite the persistence of the same gray cloud-cover
over Oregon during the wet season). By analogy consider a piece
of music in which there is a basic theme (dah-dah-dah-duh). Based
on this theme, the composer could write numbers of variations. Likewise,
there are four basic cloud types (cumulus, stratus, cirrus and nimbus).
Based on these, Nature composes endless symphonies of the skies
which are mixtures and elaborations of the basic types.
3. Many skies
are simply beautiful to behold.
There is no other way to say it. Sheer beauty! The combination of
form, position, gradations of light and shadow, and even color in
the late evening and early morning hours is pleasing to the eye,
and stirs an inner sense that causes one to breathe an inaudible,
"Ahh, the Great Artist at work!"
4. Clouds are
a "Billboard of Coming Attractions".
Because weather affects human affairs in a myriad of ways, it is
only natural to wonder what tomorrow's weather will be like. The
occupation of weather forecaster exists because of this curiosity.
Particular clouds arise from causative factors.
These factors produce tomorrow's weather. In the past, masters of
sailing vessels became skilled observers of the sky and could read
the billboard notice with amazing accuracy. That honed skill resides
with only a few people today. However it is a challenge to develop
the skill, and an immense feeling of satisfaction comes forth when
a personally made
a habit of observing the sky when you first get up and before you
retire, and many times in between, gives one a sense of connectedness
with Nature. This is important
in an increasingly high tech society. We need to remember that our
roots are in Nature, and we overlook this fact to our own disservice.
An appropriate metaphor is the difference between rooted and cut
6. Cloud observing
nourishes a global consciousness.
The advent of weather satellites -- those meteorological eyes in
the skies -- provides information about our current weather events
that is utterly amazing, yet this information is taken for granted
as we look at the weather section of the evening news. To be able
to see by visual or infrared light a global display of cloudiness
is indeed a triumph of technology and should be appreciated as such.
7. Planet Earth
is unique because of the presence of water substance, and the fact
that the 93,000,000 miles distance from the sun allows water to
exist in all three of its states (gaseous, liquid, and solid).
Simultaneously! Astronauts who made
the trips to the moon were profoundly impressed by the beauty of
the white/blue/green orb hanging against the blackness of space
-- the home they had left behind and to which they hoped to return.
8. Water is
a miracle substance. Simple H20
is anything but simple. It has remarkable heat properties. This
particular combination of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen
is the Staff of Life. Earth is a watery planet. Life depends on
water. We are WATERY BEINGS. In the absence of water, Earth would
be cloudless. There would be no precipitation. The planet would
be a lifeless desert like Mars.
9. Cloud watching
is an Antidote to Boredom. There
are many bored people in this world. An effective antidote -- that
is not an expensive prescription drug -- is the habit of systematic
cloud observing. It is useful to have a reference Cloud
Chart which shows pictures of the basic and unusual clouds,
with names and descriptions. Reduce boredom by becoming acquainted
with the day sky. Make observations at regular times and at times
in between. Write them down in a journal or on the tablet of your
10. Clouds are
a magic show of the sky.
Water substance is continually appearing and disappearing. Where
does a cloud come from and where does it go? As a cloud physicist
I know the sequence of physical causes that brings a cloud into
existence and causes it to dissipate. There are only a few cloud
physicists among the general populace. But all of us, lay and professionals,
can look upon the process with awe and wonder. I do.