Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Cloud Observation

Although yesterday's mid-morning sky was cloudless, there were fair-weather cumulus clouds moving in by late morning, and at the time of my son's 1:30 soccer game a varied cloudscape covered the sky.  As I stood on the sidelines, I determined to describe it, as a picture, carefully and without jargon, yet so classification would later be possible.
The cloud cover was nearly complete, yet seemed barely to dim the sun, which seemed to show a little less distinctly than before.  The high or mid-level clouds themselves were almost formless, but had some variation in lightness like gentle ocean waves, vaguely patterned north-south.  Shreds of blue, nearly-clear sky lay southward, and a few smaller irregular shreds elsewhere, while a stuttering of small, regular puffs ran across most of the lower altitude sky to southward running east-west.  Winds were light and variable mostly around the southern half of the compass when I began my observations. 

Returning my attention to the sky after ten  or so minutes of watching the game, I found the larger pattern still present, but the shreds of blue to have moved and multiplied and the regular puffs to have vanished completely.  After another half hour it was clear the clouds were breaking up.  The wind had steadied and strengthened from the southwest.
Someday soon I will have to lay on my back for half an hour in the right conditions with a notebook and see if I can follow the changes in the entire visible sky as quickly as they happen; I expect it will be a challenge. 

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