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Sucker Hole

When Mary from Hanover, New Hampshire, was vacationing in Alaska, she picked up a term from the locals: sucker hole. It refers to a patch of sun peeking through the clouds, which leads tourists to assume that the weather is going to clear up. The...

Episode 1509

Ding-Ding Man

In 1803, a shy British pharmacist wrote a pamphlet that made him a reluctant celebrity. The reason? He proposed a revolutionary new system for classifying clouds — with Latin names we still use today, like cumulus, cirrus, and stratus. Also: when...

The Names of Clouds

In the early 19th Century, a shy British chemist named Luke Howard self-published a pamphlet called Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, which proposed a taxonomy of cloud formations. To his surprise, the pamphlet captured the public imagination...

Cus, Cumies, and Cumulous Clouds

The slang of paragliding includes the terms cus, pronounced like “cues,” and cumies, also known as cumulus clouds, which indicate good lift is available. For paragliders, the term cloud street refers to a line of cumulus clouds that...