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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Special Tribute

A special tribute to the man who named the clouds as we know them today -

Cirrus, Cumulus, Stratus, Cirro-cumulus,
Cirro-stratus, Cumulostratus, Nimbus

Luke Howard was born on November 28, 1772. He lived in London, England and worked as a chemist. He was also an amateur meteorologist. On Sundays he would take his sketch book, leave the distractions of the city behind and go out into the countryside where he could watch the sky, for Luke Howard loved clouds. He belonged to a scientific society, and in December 1802 presented a paper on the classification of clouds. Poets, Goethe and Shelley (The Cloud) were both influenced by Luke Howard's observations. Goethe wrote:

"But Howard gives us with his clear mind
The gain of lessons new to all mankind;
That which no hand can reach, no hand can clasp
He first has gained, first held with mental grasp.

Internet Source: Wikipedia

Three of his beautiful sketches can be seen at the Royal Meteorological Society website. One, in particular, is called "cumulus with anvil".

"The sky too belongs to the Landscape. The ocean of air in which we live and move, in which the bolt of heaven is forged, and the fructifying rain condensed, can never be to the zealous Naturalist a subject of tame and unfeeling contemplation."
~ Luke Howard (1772-1864)