This Morning’s Terra Modis satellite overpass (10.55am on Sat 2nd)
Over the past few days there has been another weather related e-mail that has gone viral. The e-mail is of a strange looking object over Table Mountain, with variations of the e-mail suggesting it may be a UFO or a tornado. Though while both of these options would be exciting, they’re far from the truth of what it really is.
What you’re looking at in the image is a lenticular cloud formation which is positioned above Table Mountain. These clouds aren’t very rare at all, and in fact if you pay attention to the sky, you’ll notice that they occur several times a year, most often in Autumn and Winter. These lenticular clouds are often formed just before a cold front. They are also associated with vertical lift in the air.
To quote a wikipedia article on these clouds : “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.'”
As this image has gone to thousands of e-mail addresses by now, I am unsure who the original owner is. But if you contact me I’ll be glad to attribute the image as you desire.