Lenticular Cloud Display – March 16, 2014

Image © Warren Wilson.edu
Image © Warren Wilson.edu

People from all over the country were treated to a relatively rare view of a near stationary, lens shape cloud type known as ‘Altocumulus lenticularis’ or ‘Pile d’assiettes’ (pile of plates) yesterday.

These wave clouds form when a layer, or layers, of humid air in the middle reaches of troposphere are forced to rise and undulate over hilly terrain, causing water vapor to condense and form what appears to be a near stationary cloud on the crest of each wave: The diagram on the right helps explain this process.

© Uk Met Office

With Ireland lying in a stable warm sector under ridge conditions (see analysis chart for noon yesterday on left), the set up was near perfect for these clouds to form, and form they did, with people from all over Ireland reporting sitings of them.

The gallery below is just a selection of the captures sent into us by IWO contributors of these oddly beautiful clouds yesterday.

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