Lenticular Clouds

21/02/2015 - 22:57


It was most beguiling to descend from my recent walk to Bowerman's Nose to see the formation of the rare but mesmerizing lenticular clouds beyond Hayne Down, probably forming in the leeward winds from nearby Hamel Down.




Lenticular cloud beyond Hamel Down





Lenticular cloud & grazing sheep - Hamel Down




I was most pleased that they farmer had tagged their sheep with blue spray paint, which to me at least seemed to make a link to the colour of the sky.




Sheep unfazed by lenticular cloud - Hamel Down





The science of Lenticular Cloud formation...


Height of base: 6,500 - 16,500 ft


These are stationary lens-shaped orographic wave clouds form when the air is stable and winds blow from the same or similar direction at many levels of the troposphere. As the wind blows across hilly or mountainous regions, the air undulates in a downstream train of waves.  They are formed downwind of the mountains or large upland hills by lee waves.


If the air mass is close to the dew point and there is enough moisture in the air, these waves will condense to form the unique appearance of lenticular clouds.The clouds can be seen as far as 60 miles downwind of the hills or mountains that led to their formation and they are believed to be one of the most common explanations for UFO sightings across the world.



My curiosity to see the lenticular clouds from another vantage point took me down the road to Bonehill Rocks, which gave a fine view of the orographic process in action.



Orographic lift in action shifting clumps of Lenticular clouds eastwards and upwards in the lee winds beyond Bell Tor and Hamel Down.


Rare but enchanting cloud formations indeed, in hilly country and mountain ranges it is worth keeping your eyes peeled for the possibility of lenticular clouds, I wish you luck in finding some above an immersive & beautiful landscape.












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