August 21, 2005

Ooooooh, shiny!

Readers of our posts here and at our other roost know that we just love looking at photos of lenticular clouds. The one below, which appeared over the big island in Hawaii during 2003, is a particularly striking example.

Honkin' big lenticular cloud

[Photo: Peter Michaud (Gemini Obs.)]

Can a cloud do that? Actually, pictured above are several clouds all 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.

You can find links to more info about the photo and about lenticular clouds here. You can view a much larger version of the photo here.

Via Astronomy Picture of the Day.

More: Looking back through the archives, we see that we actually linked to this photo back in 2003, but it's so cool that a return appearance is definitely in order.

Posted by Magpie at August 21, 2005 11:43 AM | Shiny Things | Technorati links |

I like clouds - not shiny.

Posted by: Easter Lemming Liberal News at August 22, 2005 05:35 PM