Roll and Lenticular Clouds Above Taiwan

June 30, 2022


Photographer: Wei-Chun Lin

Summary Authors: Wei-Chun Lin; Cadan Cummings

The photo above shows both a roll cloud (at far left) and lenticular cloud (center of photo) as seen from a hilltop near Taipei, Taiwan. As soon as I spotted satellite images showing the possibility of these cloud structures, I rode my motorcycle to Yangmingshan National Park near Taipei.

Roll clouds are a type of arcus cloud that form on the leading edge of a storm. Unlike other shelf clouds, roll clouds are separate from the thunderstorm base. This specific roll cloud was still far away from the coast at the time of the photo. Their name comes from their horizontal “rolling” motion.

Conversely, lenticular clouds are not related with storms. Instead, these uniquely shaped clouds form when moist air cools and then condensates as it passes over mountains. When the stable is forced over the ridge, atmospheric waves are created that produce the cloud’s characteristic lens-shape appearance. Click here for a time-lapse video of the clouds.

Photo details: Nikon D850, f/11, 1/500 second exposure, 24mm