Cloud Identification: Fun Cloud Shapes | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Cloud Shapes: What Do You See?


White clouds with the feeling they may swallow you up

Photo Credit
Clyde Swaim
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There’s just something about a cloud, how it floats across the sky and constantly changes shape and size and color, drawing your eyes upward to watch, even for the briefest moment during a busy day.

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s …?

Sometimes you can find recognizable shapes in clouds, such as a sailboat, a spear of broccoli, or even a Tyrannosaurus rex. The term for this leisurely sleuthing activity is nephelococcygia, which is a word that comes from the Greek nephelo, meaning clouds, and kokkyx, meaning cuckoo. The word was first used in the play The Birds, written in 414 B.C. by Greek comic poet Aristophanes. Nephelo-Coccygia was a utopian town in the clouds built by birds—in essence, “cloud cuckoo land.”

To celebrate this popular pastime, we thought that it might be fun to post an interestingly shaped cloud every so often and invite our readers to tell us what shapes they see.

How about the photos above? Can you spot a familiar form? Please post your thoughts below.

Thank you, and happy cloud watching!