Phenomena

Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular clouds, such as the one shown above, are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form over a mountain or range of mountains. Moist air is deflected up over the mountain, and, if the temperature at higher altitudes is below that of the dew point, the water vapor in the air can condense, forming a cloud that sits over the peak of the mountain. Once the air traverses the mountain and reaches warmer, lower altitudes on the far side, it will often transition back to a gaseous state. Lenticular clouds are sometimes also called UFO clouds, due to their distinctive shape and the way they seem to hover over a peak. (Photo credit: James Woodcock, Billings Gazette via Associated Press)

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