The clouds loom over the skies of New Zealand - but unfortunately words can't describe this dramatic vision from the heavens - Some experts believe the stormy weather phenomenon deserves its very own classification. Experts at the Royal Meteorological Society are now attempting to make it official by naming it 'Asperatus' after the Latin word for 'rough'. If they are successful, it would be the first variety of cloud formation to be given a new label in over half a century.
Per Dan Ashbach, this is a rare meteorological phenomenon called a skypunch. Ice crystals form above the high-altitude cirro-cumulo-stratus clouds, then fall downward, punching a hole in the cloud cover.
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“Mammatus clouds are most often associated with the anvil cloud and severe thunderstorms. They often extend from the base of a cumulonimbus, but may also be found under altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus, and cirrus clouds, as well as volcanic ash clouds. When occurring in cumulonimbus, mammatus are often indicative of a particularly strong storm or perhaps even a tornadic storm.”