Cloud Art: The Story Of Clouds
On a December evening in 1802, Luke Howard, a London pharmacist and amateur meteorologist, aired his ideas about the classification of clouds. These ideas were presented to a small gathering of young science-minded intellectuals who called themselves "The Askesian Society". Howard's lecture on that evening was titled "On the Modification of Clouds"[...]
This was a historic lecture for many reasons. Most importantly, it heralded the beginning of meteorology, a previously unrecognized area of natural science. [...] It is a remarkable testimony that Howard's classification, with minor changes, remains in use today by practicing meteorologists. His classification was a revelation, bringing a sense of order and understanding to a subject that had lacked coordinated thought—let alone any documented theories as to how pressure, temperature, rainfall and clouds might be related. Perhaps even more impressive than Howard's classification of clouds, or "modifications" as he referred to them, was his intuition, inspired by the earlier ideas of his close acquaintance John Dalton that clouds must be considered as "subjects of grave theory and practical research ... governed by ... fixed laws...." Howard's ideas about the physics of clouds were generally sound despite the poor understanding of the physics of air and water vapor in his time.
From Stephens, G. L., 2003: The Useful Pursuit of Clouds, American Scientist, vol. 91, pp. 442-449.