A Lenticular Cloud Over New Zealand

Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2009 08:46 am
A Lenticular Cloud Over New Zealand

What's happening above those mountains? Several clouds are stacked up into one striking lenticular cloud. Normally, air moves much more horizontally than it does vertically. Sometimes, however, such as when wind comes off of a mountain or a hill, relatively strong vertical oscillations take place as the air stabilizes. The dry air at the top of an oscillation may be quite stratified in moisture content, and hence forms clouds at each layer where the air saturates with moisture. The result can be a lenticular cloud with a strongly layered appearance. The picture was taken in 2002 looking southwest over the Tarurua Range mountains from North Island, New Zealand.

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Reply Tue 3 Feb, 2009 09:51 am
Lenticular clouds over Washington State:

Are those UFOs near that mountain? No -- they are multilayered lenticular clouds. Moist air forced to flow upward around mountain tops can create lenticular clouds. Water droplets condense from moist air cooled below the dew point, and clouds are opaque groups of water droplets. Waves in the air that would normally be seen horizontally can then be seen vertically, by the different levels where clouds form. On some days the city of Seattle, Washington, USA, is treated to an usual sky show when lenticular clouds form near Mt. Rainier, a large mountain that looms just under 100 kilometers southeast of the city. This image of a spectacular cluster of lenticular clouds was taken last December.

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