One of the things I love about going for a walk and observing nature as I go, is that I’m never sure what I’m going to see. I’m often delighted to a see a bird of prey hunting, an unusual insect or a rare plant. Today, however, my interest was piqued by an altogether different aspect of nature.
While out for a walk, buffeted by strong south-westerlies, I noticed an uncommon cloud type high in the sky. Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus Lenticularis) are often described as lens-shaped or saucer-shaped and are more commonly associated with high mountains than the dales of northern England.
I’ve seen this type of cloud a few times before in other parts of the world and having read a few books on meteorology, I remembered that Lenticular clouds form due to standing waves. These waves with their associated clouds are created in stable, moist airflow as it passes over high-ground.
Indeed, looking west towards Cross Fell and south-west towards Tan Hill, I saw there was a large, moody-looking bank of cloud but after the airflow cleared this high-ground, the sky in its lee was fairly clear apart from the Lenticular clouds that were forming over the area I was walking within.
They are quite a strange sight and I can understand why people have mistaken them for UFOs in the past. Tonight I did a quick Google search to see how common these clouds actually are in northern England (not very it seems) and came across this gallery of photos taken in West Yorkshire just today:
Did you see these clouds today or have you seen them while out and about on previous occasions?
Let us know in the comments.
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