Undulatus asperatus spotted in Huntsville Wednesday afternoon

Ramona Edwards emailed these photos of clouds over Huntsville, saying:

Undulatus asperatus clouds spotted in Huntsville by Ramona Edwards.

There were some really cool “wavy” clouds out this afternoon.  I am not sure I have ever seen any quite this smooth and curly/wavy.  I have made them black and white to show contrast. Blessings, Ramona Edwards HSV.”

Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us, Ramona! These “wavy” clouds are known in the meteorology world as asperatus undulatus. Undulatus asperatus is Latin for “agitated waves”, and it is a fitting descriptor of the clouds that develop in a turbulent environment.

The atmosphere is an ocean

It may not seem logical to think of the atmosphere as an ocean, but the gases that make up the atmosphere are fluid and behave in a similar matter to liquids. As a result, the air rises and falls due to similar fluid dynamics to liquids, including pressure/density changes as well as temperature changes.

Undulatus asperatus clouds spotted in Huntsville by Ramona Edwards.

When we think of the atmosphere (an ocean of gases) as behaving similar to the (liquid) ocean, it makes sense that turbulence within the atmospheric ocean would result in crashing waves as seen via the clouds.

Did you spot undulatus asperatus over the Tennessee Valley? If so, share your photo with us!