Torres del Paine Lenticular

June 13, 2007

Lenticular1 copy

Provided by: David Harrington, University of Hawaii, Institute for Astronomy
Summary authors & editors: David Harrington

This photo shows a system of magnificent lenticular clouds in the Torres del Paine Park in Chile as observed on April 27, 2007. Lenticulars form as a stable but nearly saturated layer of air is forced to flow over elevated terrain such as a mountain range. The lifting cools the air to saturation and cloud formation, but does not induce convection or instability. Typically, these clouds form on windy clear days -- stable weather. On this late April day, the surface winds were 20-40 mph (32-64 kmph) sustained, with gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kmph). This amazing formation was present nearly the entire day. See also yesterday's Earth Science Picture of the Day.

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