Lenticular clouds are a rare spectacle for common people. It can be claimed as the most incredible phenomenon occurring with the clouds. These clouds are either stationary or convergent-shaped or a converging lens cloud. Their visibility is mostly seen in mountainous areas. The characteristic aspect of lenticular clouds gives rise to spectacular landscapes and has been the origin of many UFO sightings. Lenticular clouds are no doubt strange to see, but it is even much more wrong to think that the secrets just end up in little. The set of your unanswered how, when, where and why, demands answers. And guess what, they are right here! Let’s fave a look at 10 of the most fascinating facts about Lenticular clouds.
1 Where And How Are They Formed
They are formed in the troposphere (the lowest part of the atmosphere). These clouds are formed mainly in mountainous areas, thanks to a phenomenon known as gravity waves. It is seen in fluid dynamics.
2 When Do These Waves Occur
Gravity waves may be less spectacular, but not less interesting. These waves occur when there is a moving vertical disturbance within a fluid. These disturbances are usually halted by a restoring force which attempts to return the fluid to a state of equilibrium. This force is usually gravity and hence the name – gravity waves.
3 The Best Place For The Waves To Form
Mountains are the perfect place for the gravity waves, for it is easy for air currents to become the upward currents. In this way, a wave is received that will be going up and down near the mountain, that is, a standing wave. If the temperature and humidity of the air are adequate, a lenticular cloud will form just in the wave and obtain its characteristic form.
Although the mountains are perfect to form these waves, they are not the only means that there is. Gravity waves can also be formed by convection currents or the development of storms. It is therefore not surprising that lenticular clouds have also been observed in areas without mountains.
4 Classification Of Lenticular Clouds
Lenticular clouds are classified into 3 groups.
Stratocumulus standing lenticularis (SCSL) that form at low altitudes, this is approximately less than 2000 meters.
Altocumulus standing lenticularis (ACSL)- They are the most common lenticular clouds. They live at an average height, between 2000 and 6000 meters.
Cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSSL) can be supposed to form at great heights (more than 6000 meters). These are extremely rare and require a mountain of a similar size to form.
5 Can You Fly Inside Them
It may just seem that the cloud is still, but there is actually a lot of movement inside it. A close observer may notice the cloud evaporating continuously from one side, while it formed from the other. It is indeed wonderful to see. That is why planes avoid flying inside them. Though they appear peaceful, they are extremely turbulent.
6 Modern Acrobatic Gliders In Lenticular Clouds
Gliders are fond of looking for lenticular clouds, as the vertical airflow near the cloud is very good for planning. They are a kind of small plane that runs without engine. Once in the air, they gain height only by ascending currents of air. This is why gliders have a love for lenticular clouds. The best records in have been obtained with distances traveled up to 3000 km and altitudes up to 15,460 meters
7 Places To Observe Them
As can be imagine, one has to be very lucky first. The best seasons to observe are winter and spring, because in these seasons the high wind blows with more force. A stronger wind implies a better gravitational wave for the cloud.
They can be seen on any mountain, but should meet the conditions of humidity and temperature. They are mostly seen in mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, the Alps or the Rockies.
8 These Clouds May Create Illusion Of UFOs
No! They have been constantly mistaken for UFOs. Just because the clouds have a lens like appearance, doesn’t mean that they are actually UFOs.
9 Wave Lift Gliding To Observe Lenticular Clouds
Wave lift is smooth and strong, and enables gliders to reach a remarkable height and great distances to observe such clouds. The current record is set for a distance of 3000 km and altitude of 14,938 meters.
10 Do Pilots Avoid Lenticular Clouds
Lenticular clouds are mostly seen near mountains and terrains. The presence of mountains creates turbulence in the aircraft rotor system. Pilots generally avoid flying near clouds and thus help them avoid flying near any such cloud. These clouds thus warn them about the presence of otherwise dangerous mountain waves.