Dr. John Day

"The Cloudman"


Dr. John Day, "The Cloudman"

Altocumulus, Orcas Island, Washington


"The Act of Seeing
Nourishes the Soul"

John Day grew up in Colorado Springs, CO, USA, attended Colorado College, and received a B. A. degree in l936 with a major in physics. He continued his education at the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, CA. graduating in its first class in Airline Meteorology in l937. This led immediately to a career, lasting ten years, as a forecaster for Pan American World Airways, Pacific Division, with foreign assignments in Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia, P.I., and Japan.

In l946 he resigned from PanAm and started an academic career, teaching physics and meteorology at Oregon State University while working on advanced degrees. He earned a M.S. in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1956.

After a two-year interim period at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA. John returned to Oregon in l958 to a position in the physics department at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR from which he retired in 1978. From l974-78 he headed Linfield’s new Division of Continuing Education. Because he loves to maintain contact with students, he has taught meteorology in the January short term each year since retirement. He calls this "keeping his oar in the water".

In 1962 he was granted a Faculty Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to study Cloud Physics with Dr. B.J. Mason’s group at Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England. This was a "wonderful experience". It was at Cloud Physics conferences around the world that he first met Dr. Vincent Schaefer, with whom he would collaborate in writing the Peterson’s Field Guide books. In 1971 he returned to England, this time on sabbatical leave, for intensive study of the History of Cloud Classification, focusing on the work of Luke Howard, England’s first meteorologist. Howard introduced the first nomenclature of clouds at a meeting of the Askesian Society in 1803. Day’s work was carried on at the Meteorological Office at Bracknell, located about 50 miles SW of London.

Dr. Day’s interest in clouds was first of a technical nature, learning to forecast their appearance and development as they impacted on Pan Am Clipper flights. Studies of clouds in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s were directed toward gaining a fuller understanding of the physical causes that led to the formation of particular cloud types. In this period he started photographing clouds which led to an extensive collection of photographs. In later years his focus of interest has shifted form technical to artistic, and through the medium of photography, he attempts day by day to capture the beauty and majesty seen in the cloud forms that grace the sky.

Some l5 years ago John’s life path collided with that of Jack Borden, founder of the For Spacious Skies organization. At that time Borden needed cloud images for a cloud chart and, having come across the Field Guide to the Atmosphere, realized that John might have what he needed. This was the start of an ongoing close relationship that led to the first generation cloud chart, and the Skywatcher’s Cloud Chart, a later result of a collaborative effort with the Weather Channel.

Exhibits of cloud images captured on film by "The Cloudman" have been and/or are on exhibit in a number of public galleries including the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA, and The Hong Kong Science Museum.

John Day’s books on meteorology include the following:

Rudiments of Weather with F.W. Decker. OSU Press. 1957

Water, the Mirror of Science with K.S. Davis. Doubleday. 1961

The Science of Weather Addison Wesley. 1966

Climate and Weather with Gilbert Sternes, Addison Wesley. 1972

Peterson’s Field Guide to the Atmosphere with V.J. Schaefer. Houghton Mifflin. 1981

Peterson’s First Guide to Clouds and Weather with V.J. Schaefer. Houghton Mifflin.1991

The Book of Clouds. Barnes and Noble. 2002

John and Mary Day have a family of five children. One of the children, Janice Richardson, created this website. John and Mary celebrated 60 years of marriage in November 1997. They have thirteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and have lived in the same house in McMinnville, Oregon for forty years.


John Day, the beloved Cloudman passed away on June 21, 2008.

Read the Oregonian tribute to his life.(pdf)


  About Cloudman
Cloudman Books   Cloud History
Words on the Weather
Mini Cloud Atlas   10 Reasons to Look Up!
  Cloud Formation Chart   Cloud Gallery
Tips on Photography
Discovery Notebook

Home School Letter

  Favorite Links
  Home Page       Contact Cloudman

All Rights © Copyright John A. Day, 1998 - 2007

Site Design by DoubleRich Design

Last updated on: