Billowing clouds fill an enormous bright blue sky over golden-coloured fields dotted with haystacks. The clouds cast a shadow across the foreground, while the middle distance is illuminated by a band of sunlight. In the far distance, we see a glimpse of bright-green fields and the silhouetted hills beyond.

Stanley Royle

Cornfield Near Hartland, New Brunswick, c. 1940
oil on board
40.3 x 51 cm
Collection of the Owens Art Gallery

The amateur meteorologist Luke Howard is said to have “invented” clouds when he presented his Essay on the Modification of Clouds to the Askesian Society in 1802. He identified three main cloud types: bunchy clouds, sheet-like clouds, and wispy clouds. These were named based on the Latin for “heap” or CUMULUS, “layer” or STRATUS, and “lock of hair” or CIRRUS, respectively. The contemporary World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) International Cloud Atlas still uses these terms today in an ongoing effort to standardize the language for describing weather across the globe.

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