Lenticular Clouds

02/06/14

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Lenticular Clouds

According to Webster a Lenticular Cloud is a very smooth, round or oval, lens shaped cloud that is often seen, singly or stacked in groups, near a mountain range. They can result from strong wind flow over rugged terrain which produces a distinct up and down, wavelike pattern on the lee side of the mountain or large hill. They tend to form at the peaks of these waves. Often called "wave" clouds, they sometimes are very round and the edges are so well defined that they resemble flying saucers. Additional source: Plymouth State College, Weather Center, Plymouth, N .H.

Lenticular clouds are a type of wave cloud. They usually form when a layer of air near the surface encounters a topographic barrier, gets pushed upward, and flows over it as a series of atmospheric gravity waves. Lenticular clouds form at the crest of the waves, where the air is coolest and water vapor is most likely to condense into cloud droplets. NASA

If you view a mountain stream, and there's a rock sticking up in the stream, as the water strikes the rock, it makes a wave and the wave remains, because it is formed by hitting the rock.. So it is with a lenticular cloud forming, as the layer of air encounters the rock, i.e. the mountain ridge. Grant Goodge, Climatologist, 30 year career with NOAA

 

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This site was last updated 02/06/14