Decoding the Sky: Identifying Clouds in Edvard Munch's The Scream

  • By Fred Prata, Alan Robock, and Richard Hamblyn
  • Jun 8, 2021

Photo by Ben Jessop

Art has an interesting role to play in weather observing. Paintings, sketches, and other media can provide representation of clouds and other meteorological phenomena from before measurements and data collection instruments were standardized and widespread. William Ascroft’s pastel sketches from 1888 are an example of this. These sketches depict observations from Chelsea, London, on 26 November 1883 and show the effects of the eruption of Krakatau. The images capture the impact that aerosols high in the atmosphere have on the color of the sky. 

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