Friday, February 4, 2011

"Wave" at Mammoth (SkyWatch Friday)

Picturesque lenticular (or "wave") clouds formed along the ridges by Hwy 395 at the Mammoth Mountain turnoff last Saturday afternoon. (From Wikipedia: "Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. As the moist air moves back down into the trough of the wave, the cloud may evaporate back into vapor. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds can form near the crest of each successive wave, creating a formation known as a 'wave cloud.' The wave systems cause large vertical air movements and so enough water vapor may condense to produce precipitation. The clouds have been mistaken for UFOs (or "visual cover" for UFOs) because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape. Bright colors (called Irisation) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds.")
On the drive home on Sunday, heading south toward Los Angeles, misty clouds spilled over the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Owens Valley.

11 comments:

Lily Hydrangea said...

Wow! I've never seen a wave cloud before - very cool!

Bibi said...

I've never seen these either, and can understand the UFO appearance. Beautiful photo!

brattcat said...

Good grief, what breath-taking scenery. Oh, to live in such surroundings.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

is Bishop covered in snow? That cloud is wonderous

Wanda said...

Didn't know they were called a wave cloud, but wonderful capture.

Almost Precious said...

I've never seen a lenticular cloud in person, only in photos. They are certainly unusual and I can see why they'd tend to generate a lot of attention.

Mister Earl said...

Did you visit the Chieftess?

Powell River Books said...

That is an amazing lenticular. I'm sure glad I'm not flying anywhere it. - Margy

TheChieftess said...

Tash!!! That's beautiful!!! We didn't see this one...at least not from this angle! Great capture!!! And your black and white is one of my favorite sights!!!

No Mr E...Dan's college roommate, wife and friends were up that weekend and we weren't able to connect. Wish she'd been up here this weekend or next as no one's here...
(Yay!!! I can breathe again!)
maybe when Miss Virginia comes on out...

Linda said...

Blissful! We don't get many lenticular clouds here, so I always enjoy photos of them from elsewhere.

jennyfreckles said...

I've never seen one of those cloud formations, how spectacular.