Hello Folks riding with me on my Magic Carpet! Welcome Back!
Back to clouds and then back to Eugene Gladstone O’Neill and then back to
Beating Heart Surgery and then back to See Naples and Die 1 and then back to
Rome and women doctors of ancient Rome and then back through Heydays &
Doomsdays to “FDA-APPROVED DRUGS KILL A MILLION AMERICANS PER
DECADE – one person every five minutes!” with its originator, the eminent
columnist / activist / satirist JON RAPPOPORT – http://nomorefakenews.com/ –
still waiting in the wings yet churning away soul-piercing, pungeant punch
lines as always!!
Yes…s…s…s…s, We have to go back a long, l…o…n…g python – like winding
way, indeed! As Meher Baba said first and later the ten-times Grammy Award
winner Robert “Bobby” McFerrin, Jr. and still later the Late pop legend
Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, OM (Remember his best-known hits including
“I Shot the Sheriff”, “No Woman, No Cry”, “Could You Be Loved”, “Stir It Up”,
“Get Up Stand Up”, “Jamming”, “Redemption Song”, “One Love” and,
“Three Little Birds”, as well as the posthumous releases “Buffalo Soldier”
and “Iron Lion Zion”; and the compilation album Legend (1984), released
three years after his death and is reggae’s best – selling album, going ten times
Platinum which is also known as one Diamond in the U.S., and selling 25
million copies worldwide) sang, “Don’t worry! Be Happy!!”!
Don’t worry! We will make it!! Be Happy!!!
Clouds and their homologues Dew, Mist, Ice, Snow, Frost, Fog, Smog (Smoke
+ Fog) are all visible masses of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water
or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a
planetary body like earth. These suspended particles are also known as aerosols.
Clouds and their homologues are formed by water vapour freezing / precipitating
/ crystallising by itself or condensing onto A. Cloud condensation nuclei or CCNs
(also known as cloud seeds) – (particles may be composed of dust or clay, soot
or black carbon from grassland or forest fires, sea salt from ocean wave spray,
soot from factory smokestacks or internal combustion engines, sulfate from
volcanic activity, phytoplankton or the oxidation of sulfur dioxide and secondary
organic matter formed by the oxidation of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds
which are are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous including both human-made
and naturally occurring chemical compounds including most scents or odors,
paints and coatings; also Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and chlorocarbons used
as refrigerants, dry cleaning agents, fossil fuels – gasoline and automobile
exhaust; Benzene in tobacco smoke, stored fuels, and exhaust from cars in an
attached garage, from natural sources such as volcanoes and forest fires and
in the production of plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers; Methylene chloride
found in adhesive removers and aerosol spray paints; Perchloroethylene used
mostly in dry cleaning; MTBE banned in the US from 2004 – used as an octane
booster and oxygenated – additive in underground gasoline storage tanks – their
leakage led to contamination of drinking water aquifers and poisoning all living
beings; a host of VOCs found in indoor air in offices from new furnishings, wall
coverings, and office equipment such as photocopy machines, which can
off – gas VOCs into the air; and the irritant poison Formaldehyde slowly emitted
by many building materials such as wood, paints, adhesives, wall boards, and
ceiling tiles etc.,) and B. Ice Nuclei, (particles which act as the nuclei for the
formation of ice crystals in the atmosphere) both natural and anthropogenic,
including those composed of minerals, soot, organic matter, sulfate and even
bacteria found in the atmosphere all over the world.
For the miniscule – measurement – minded amongst you, CCNs are small
particles typically 0.2 µm, or 1/100th the size of a cloud droplet; a typical
raindrop is about 2 mm in diameter, a typical cloud droplet is on the order
of 0.02 mm, and a typical cloud condensation nucleus (aerosol) is on the
order of 0.0001 mm or 0.1 micrometer or greater in diameter. The number
of cloud condensation nuclei in the air can be measured and ranges
between around 100 to 1000 per cubic centimetre. The total mass of CCNs
injected into the atmosphere has been estimated at 2x(10 RAISED TO THE
POWER of ) kg over just a year’s time!
Clouds, the greatest free colour / song and dance (Son et lumière)
(phantasmagoria) show in the sky have been around from time
immemorial, pretty much from just shortly after the big – bang (The Origin
of the Universe), long before there came 1. specialist Hobbyists called
“Cloud Watchers” (the latest and illustrious example of whom was
Dr.John “Cloudman” A.Day 1913 – 2008 who gave the people the clarion
call “Just “Look UP and SEE” the beauty of the sky!” saying “The Act of
Seeing Nourishes the Soul” and provided the famous Skywatcher’s Cloud
Chart in collaborative effort with the Weather Channel and also through
the “For Spacious Skies” TV Program started by Jack Borden, former
television reporter in Boston, MA,) and 2. specialist weather scientists
called Meteorologists (their Pioneer being British amateur meteorologist
Luke Howard (1772 – 1864) who, in 1802, gave the widely accepted
Cloud Classification (cirrus, cumulus, stratus, nimbus) to study them
(in Cloud Physics – the study of the physical processes that lead to the
formation, growth and precipitation of clouds.)!
A few words on the etymology (“Etymology” is the study of the history of
words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over
time. By an extension, the term “etymology (of a word)” means the origin
of a particular word.) of the words “Sky” and “Cloud” would belong here!
For this you need to bear with some well-accepted and standard
abbreviations like M.E.(Middle English (1100-1400) period), O.E. (Old
English or Anglo-saxon (600-1100)), O.N. (Old Norse from the era of
The Vikings, also called Northmen or Norsemen, who, from the late 8th
to the mid -11th century (from 790 to 1,000) raided and plundered
the coast of Europe and the British Isles and established settlements
in Britain and France; many of their Norse words are now part of
everyday English vocabulary.), OHG (Old High German) etc.,
:Cloud” O.E. meant “mass of rock,” related to clud / clod. In M.E.
from O.N. “Sky / Skie” also originally meant “cloud.” In M.E. “Sky”
meant “Cloud” first and the “sky” second, while “cloud”, derived
from O.E. clud meant rock, hill, and cloud in that order. It has been
only since 1400 that sky meant sky and cloud meant cloud, as we
know and use them today.
Confused, eh?? Don’t Worry! Be Happy!! Take refuge in “A rose
by any other name would smell as sweet”, a commonly quoted
part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and
Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter,
only what things are.
Though clouds have been around from time immemorial, individual
clouds are not immortal, not even long – lived; mostly they are
evanescent, constantly changing, and so it is almost impossible
to trace the life cycle of a cloud which takes an average of 30
minutes to go through. One interesting fact, though, is that a
cloud that keeps its shape is a cloud that rises because if it remains
stationary, it evaporates. A cloud that produces precipitation is also
a cloud that rises, thus cooling even further and causing greater
condensation. Clouds grow, amalgamate, fragment and dissipate /
disappear during periods of convection, when clouds (water vapor
form of water) becomes liquid and falls to the earth as rain.
Rarely a weird cloud has even fallen to the ground, has rolled over,
has broken up and has vanished, right under the nose of,
understandably, bewildered men!
Clouds “die” by the opposite adiabatic effect, when the air sinks
in a high pressure and the air warms up, thus allowing the moisture
to evaporate giving place to a clear sky.
If those clouds were never to “die” then the sky would be entirely
covered by clouds and no liquid water would be left on earth.
Every few days a new cloud will form as the old ones evaporate.
Like every other phenomenon of nature, Clouds also seem to say,
as in the poem, “The Brook” by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron
Tennyson, FRS (1809 – 1892) who was Poet Laureate of the
United Kingdom during Queen Victoria’s reign, the brook says,
“Men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.”!
With that I shall close this page! See you in the next page with
more on clouds!