16 October 2018
Homomutatus was among the new cloud types that were identified in the WMO's latest International Cloud Atlas. Photo: Chan
Homomutatus was among the new cloud types that were identified in the WMO's latest International Cloud Atlas. Photo: Chan

Hongkongers contribute significantly to WMO’s new cloud atlas

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released on Thursday a new digitized International Cloud Atlas that features the works of several Hong Kong photographers and cloud enthusiasts.

The atlas showcases as many as 56 photos from Hongkongers among the hundreds of images submitted by meteorologists, photographers and cloud lovers from around the world.

Overall, the new publication, which serves as a global reference for observing and identifying clouds, identified 12 new cloud types, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The International Cloud Atlas, one of the world’s most renowned encyclopaedia on clouds with a 121-year history, was first published in 1896 as a reference tool for the training of new meteorological personnel.

The first edition of the atlas only had 28 photos, and the number grew over the years during various updates in 1939, 1956, 1975. In the last edition, in 1987, the photos reached 220.

It has been over 30 years since the last update, but with the help of the Hong Kong Observatory, the latest collection has over 600 photos with 12 new cloud types being introduced, including the Cavum clouds, Homomutatus and Flammagenitus.

Images captured by Hong Kong locals made up about one-tenths of the entire collection in the atlas.

The Hong Kong Observatory was tasked with digitalizing the International Cloud Atlas in the form of a new website. The authority solicited over 500 photographs from local photographers and ultimately picked 56 from the pack.

Out of the 12 new cloud types identified, three were captured through the lenses of Hong Kong photographers.

Each and every picture in the atlas is supplemented with satellite images, air pressure information and even video clips of the cloud movements.

Local photographer Amy Chan Mei-suk, who now has a picture of Homomutatus cloud in the atlas, said on her Facebook page that she took the photo in the Gobi Desert on a train to Inner Mongolia on October 11, 2015.

It is gratifying to be able to play a part in this global initiative, Chan said, adding that she hopes more locals will support events held by the Hong Kong Observatory.

In a bid to encourage cloud-watching among children, the Hong Kong Observatory will later this year publish an E-book that will introduce cloud types.

- Contact us at [email protected]


Cloud type Cavum is also among the new introductions in the latest WMO atlas. Photo: Photo: Tsz Cheung

A picture captures the Flammagenitus cloud formation. Photo: Photo: Ho Pik Har

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe