Saturday, May 28, 2011
Some interesting clouds were forming over the Kenai Mountains this morning. Most people would maybe give them a curious glance, but a pilot should know a little about them, especially if they were planning a flight in the mountains. Standing lenticular clouds are formed when the air rises up over the mountains, cools to the dewpoint and the cloud forms. Then the wave descends into the trough, and as the air warms past the dewpoint again, the cloud dissipates. The cloud has the deceptive appearance of being stationary. Once in awhile a churning rotor cloud will appear below the lennie, but not always. Strong turbulence is always associated near the rotor cloud, or where it might be if the conditions were right. Gliders on the other hand will seek out the lenticular clouds because of the lift they can generate over the top. Altitude records in gliders have been set riding the lift associated with the mountain waves. At any rate, they are really an interesting phenomena, and have a very calm and serene appearance.