Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe, wrote:
Was surprised during my early morning walk on Wednesday [March 4, 2020] by the appearance of an unusual low-level standing wave (lenticular) cloud above a familiar saddle on a hill in Cecil Kop Nature Reserve. Managed to capture distant and closer views of the cloud appearing and then rising on a strong updraft of wind blowing from the east. Was only visible for about two minutes before dissipating. Lots of bright reflections of rising sunlight from beautiful altocumulus cloud above.
More information on altocumulus and lenticular clouds at:
Thank you, Peter! For some more context on what he saw, check out his Facebook post:
Also, there’s a great, simple explanation for these clouds at the Weather101 area of KOLD-News13 in mountainous Tucson, Arizona.
Standing wave clouds form when wind blows over a mountain. Since the wind can’t possibly go INTO the mountain, it is forced up and over it.
When air rises, if it has enough moisture in it, the water vapor is condensed into visible cloud droplets. Thus, a cloud will form over or just downwind from the mountain.
Then, since the air was forced upward over the mountain, it undulates, or goes up and down as it moves on.
Each place it’s going up, a cloud forms …
Bottom line: Standing wave cloud at sunrise, over Zimbabwe.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.