Amazing Lens Shaped Cloud Formation - Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular formations are stationary lens-shaped clouds usually formed by moist air rising in the high-altitude skies over a mountain or range of mountains. The clouds are usually formed perpendicular to the direction of the airflow, and are usually avoided by aircraft pilots because of the turbulence associated with them. Due to their unusual shape, they have been offered as an explanation for some Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings.

The cloud pattern depends upon the wind speed and the shape of the mountains. A constant wind may produce clouds which are stable and remain virtually stationary in the sky for long periods.

Lenticular cloud over Mt. Rainier
Photograph by Tyler Mode

Lenticular cloud over Mt. Rainier
Photograph by Tyler Mode

Lenticular Clouds over Washington's Mount Rainier
Photograph by Arco Images/Alamy

Lenticular cloud, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, US
Image Credit : Science Photo Library / Rex Features

Lenticular clouds were also seen over the moors at Oxenhope near Bradford
Photograph by Brian Middleton

Lenticular clouds form when a tall geographic feature, such as the the top of a mountain, interrupts a strong wind coming up the side. The interruption in airflow creates a wind wave pattern in the atmosphere on the downwind side of the mountain. At the crests of these waves, moisture in the air condenses and forms a cloud, but as the air moves down into the trough of the wave the water evaporates again, leaving behind clouds in a characteristic lenticular shape.

Amazing Lens Shaped Cloud Formation - Lenticular Clouds Amazing Lens Shaped Cloud Formation - Lenticular Clouds Reviewed by Vasanth on May 20, 2014 Rating: 5