The Daily Telegraph

Every cloud art installati­on has a silver lining

- By Joe Shute

REMEMBER that old adage about a great salesman being able to hawk tea to the Orient? Well, a Japanese artist has just managed to achieve the opposite: flogging mist to Londoners.

Artist Fujiko Nakaya has created a “fog sculpture” outside Tate Modern, using tiny high-pressured nozzles to create a wall of cloud.

But we British are already connoisseu­rs of the pea soup. The Latin classifica­tions for clouds were first proposed in 1802 by pharmacist Luke Howard. In December of that year Mr Howard gave a talk entitled “On the Modificati­ons of Clouds”, in which he establishe­d the basic principles of cirrus, cumulus and stratus clouds and their combinatio­ns.

In 1896, Britain produced the inaugural edition of the Internatio­nal Cloud Atlas. And today, the Cloud Appreciati­on Society, founded by Somerset nephologis­t (cloud spotter) Gavin Pretor-Pinney, has the world’s largest database of categorise­d cloud photograph­s online – 15,000 and rising.

This week, the Cloud Appreciati­on Society has successful­ly lobbied the World Meteorolog­ical Society to introduce a new official classifica­tion of cloud to the Internatio­nal Cloud Atlas: the asperitas – described as having a “chaotic and turbulent appearance”. A fitting cloud for these troubled times, you might say.

The atlas will also feature some new Latin terms for cloud formations that hitherto only had colloquial titles, such as the breaking-wave “Kelvin Helmholtz cloud” and the hole-punch shaped “fallstreak hole”.

Mr Pretor-Pinney is “delighted” with the outcome. And with good reason. His whole purpose is to raise a sense of wonder in the ordinary – the notion that excitement lies in the most mundane of settings, so long as you are prepared to stop and look – which is a fine philosophy as far as the British weather goes.

 ??  ?? Fujiko Nakaya’s cloud art at Tate Modern
Fujiko Nakaya’s cloud art at Tate Modern

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