Key Takeaways

  1. Lenticular clouds are lens-shaped, stationary clouds found at high altitudes.
  2. They have been mistaken for UFOs and linked to various UFO sightings.
  3. Lenticular clouds form on the lee side of mountains due to stable, moist air encountering upper-level winds.
  4. Powered aircraft pilots avoid flying near them due to turbulence, while glider pilots use them to locate rising air masses.
  5. Their unique appearance and behavior make Lenticular clouds a fascinating natural phenomenon.

Clouds have always captivated the human imagination with their magical shapes and appearances. Among the various types of clouds, Lenticular clouds stand out as one of the most interesting and enigmatic phenomena. These lens-shaped clouds are commonly found at high altitudes and are known for their stationary nature, remaining fixed in one place. They are divided into three categories based on their height above the Earth’s surface. Due to their distinct shapes, Lenticular clouds have been mistaken for UFOs in the past, contributing to various UFO sightings.

Lenticular clouds primarily form over mountainous regions, particularly in winter, on the lee side of mountain ranges sheltered from the wind. They are created when stable, moist air flows vertically over a mountain and encounters upper-level winds almost perpendicularly, resulting in the formation of standing waves on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of these waves reaches the dew point, Lenticular clouds are formed. These clouds continuously form and dissipate near the crest of the atmospheric waves, giving the illusion of being stationary, although there is a constant movement of wind through them.

Pilots of powered aircraft avoid flying near Lenticular clouds due to the severe turbulence caused by the mountain waves. However, glider pilots actively seek out these clouds as they indicate the presence of rising air mass, helping gliders gain altitude and travel long distances. While Lenticular clouds are typically seen over mountains, there have been rare instances of their formation over flat terrain, not due to atmospheric waves but fluctuating wind speeds from atmospheric fronts.

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📷 danielkordan | IG 📍 Mt. Fuji, Japan


📸 @hashimuki


Mt. Fuji – rare lenticular cloud. Credit: parjpba1352


📷 planetx44 (IG)


© Hashimuki Makoto 


© Hashimuki Makoto 


© Hashimuki Makoto 


Credit: Taitan

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