Landscape photographer Laurence Lai captured an asperitas cloud formation over Hong Kong. Photo: Laurence Lai

An asperitas, a rare cloud formation, was captured – quite by chance – by a professional landscape photographer in Hong Kong’s Ma On Shan, in the city’s New Territories East district, on Wednesday.

At 8:30am, Laurence Lai, an experienced photographer who owns a gallery in Hong Kong , took a picture of the layered clouds above Tolo Harbour with his iPhone while jogging in Tai Po Waterfront Park.

He shared the picture with friends on social media, raising the attention of a friend working at Hong Kong Observatory. The cloud formation in the picture was confirmed as an asperitas, a name which translates approximately as “roughness.”

An “asperitas” appeared over Hong Kong on Wednesday morning. Photo: Laurence Lai

The first asperitas seen in Hong Kong was identified at around noon on 23 April 2015, according to the Hong Kong Observatory

While the formation mechanism of asperitas clouds is not yet fully understood, it is likely that it will be listed as a new cloud type by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the forthcoming update of the International Cloud Atlas.

Lai’s portfolio includes several other stunning images of clouds in Hong Kong, as seen here:

Photo: Laurence Lai
Photo: Laurence Lai
Photo: Laurence Lai

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.