Latest Issue

How I mastered the art of cloud-reading—and learned to see the future

Think of clouds as the original sky writing. A snapshot tells you little—it’s all to do with the pattern in which they appear

By Cal Flyn  

Here on the island, the weather has become one of the most significant factors in how each day will unfold. Photo: Roberto Nickson, Pexels

Living on a low-lying island—a place of wide-open vistas—I have become increasingly aware of the shifting patterns of the clouds in the sky and how they relate to the weather.

From a field near my house, one might stand and watch a curtain of rain drawing across mainland Scotland then advancing across the waters of the Pentland Firth. As it approaches, it obscures first the high hills of Hoy and then the smooth green back of Graemsay, which rises like a whale from the waters of the sound. Then the air begins to shift; a susurrus rises from the dry…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect