My aim for this project was to gain an in-depth knowledge into a complex subject that I was interested in learning about, so that I could educate others with my findings. After some thought I decided on the topic clouds, I believed that this could be an interesting and thought provocative subject. From my initial research it was clear that the majority of books and articles were greatly scientific, making the information focused on meteorologists, academics and physicists. From the beginning this brought to my attention the difficulty others like myself may have in finding information on clouds that they could understand. As a result, I decided that I would convey my information in a manner more understandable to a wider population.
As a starting point I decided to look into how clouds are formed and the various formations that can occur, this information was gathered primarily from reliable internet sources, such as the Met Office. I feel like this was a necessary place to begin my research in order to gather basic knowledge on the formation of clouds. Once I understood fully how clouds were formed I began to think about how pollution may be affecting the size, number and rate at which clouds are forming. To uncover this I used a mixture of scientific websites and scientific papers to gather a knowledgable understanding. I took to finding guides on clouds in the library, I carefully chose two that appeared to be less scientific but on further inspection there was a trend of mathematical equations and physics orientated writing. At this point I felt that I was having great difficulty making sense of the information that I had obtained and needed to find a more suitable ways to uncover interesting data. I came across the book ‘A Cloud Spotters Guide’ which takes a relaxed approach in teaching readers about cloud formations. This was much more useful as I could easily gain further understanding into various aspects of the topic which allowed me to progress into looking deeper into interesting and more in-depth areas of investigation.
In particular I decided to focus my study on the altocumulus standing lenticularis more commonly known as the lenticular cloud. Again, I began with developing my knowledge on the way in which they are formed before focusing on various characteristics such as iridescence. By reading a scientific paper entitled ‘Coronas and Iridescence in Mountain Wave Clouds’ by Joseph A. Shaw and Paul J. Neiman, I was able to gather a large amount of rich information from a reliable source. This information took a while to digest and understand to a point where I was confident that what I understood was correct. The formation of these clouds is greatly aesthetically pleasing, this is the reason for my decision for them to become my sole focus. I myself became fascinated with their uniqueness and mystery. This curiosity led me into discovering how these clouds can and are often mistaken for unidentified flying objects. There are a number of newspaper articles, websites and online blogs that document such sightings that were later proven to be lenticular clouds. Whilst pursuing this avenue of investigation I found myself researching more into UFO’s and aliens. Although I went off-track for a short while I believe that this helped me to look for less obvious information such as formations and general scientific information. I found a gateway into less known about information, things that the general public may find more engaging and interesting. Myths were a large part of my later research regarding lenticular clouds, where I discovered an account describing a theory developed with the intention of explaining these clouds in a somewhat complex and unorthodox manner.
During this project I also looked into various other aspects linking to clouds that were also interesting, although I did not engage with these in the same way in which I did with my final focus. I came across a method in which clean water sources could be extract from clouds, referred to as cloud water harvesting. This process uses a net that is situated high up, preferably on a mountain that captures liquid water droplets from low formations that then condenses into clean, drinkable water. Whilst exploring this I came across a charity called PHOG who’s aim is to use this process in order to provide less economically developed countries with continuous access to clean water sources. Another interesting topic that I investigated in depth was the cloud buster, a piece of machinery that can manipulate cloud formations. This was developed by Wilhelm Reich who also discovered orgone energy, a key factor in the cloud busters process. At the same time as discovering the lenticular cloud I learnt about the morning glory. This is a formation of roll cloud from the stratocumulus genus that is unique to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Northern Queensland, Australia that appears for a few early mornings a year. During spring time a small community of people consisting mostly of gliders travel to see the morning glory, sometimes waiting weeks for it to appear. This formation can stretch lengths up to 600 miles and reach speeds of 35mph.
For my final outcome I chose to create a short magazine that informs the reader about cloud formations in an understandable manner by using an optimum balance between imagery, diagrams and text.
Overall, I feel that my research has contributed to my final outcome successfully. It has given me many interesting potential topics that I could follow up at a later date to expand my final publication. I thoroughly engaged in the subject, however, the transformation between research and designing was a slow process. I felt that I had a great number of compelling subject matters that could have easily supported an educational and visually beautiful magazine. This became a problem when deciding what I was going to create. Choosing to focus on lenticular clouds was good decision as I was able to transfer my knowledge in a more simple and engaging manner then the papers that I had read myself. Not only this but the imagery of these clouds is beautiful. If at a later date I have the chance to come back to this project I would like to expand my knowledge further on other mysterious formations.