Ghostly ‘UFO cloud’ hovering over mountains wows judges in climate picture contest

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A ghostly white saucer hovers over the peaks of El Chaltén in southern Argentina. As wind thrashes the close by clouds, the saucer stays fastened above the craggy summit, anchored within the sky like a mothership surveying the hills beneath.

It is not aliens. (Sorry … it is by no means aliens). It is only a pleasant neighborhood “UFO cloud” — higher recognized in meteorological circles as a standing lenticular cloud.

This eerie climate phenomenon is comparatively frequent in mountainous areas like El Chaltén, or the Rocky Mountains within the U.S., the place high-speed winds ricochet over a tall peak, creating a definite lens- or saucer-shaped cloud formation excessive within the sky. Nonetheless, photographer Francisco Javier Negroni Rodriguez — whose picture above is a finalist within the Royal Meteorological Society’s (RMS) 2020 Climate Photographer of the 12 months contest — needed to wait the higher a part of a day to seize the cloud in its mysterious glory.

One other contest runner-up reveals this ‘monster’ storm rearing its head over Umag, Croatia. (Picture credit score: Maja Kraljik)

Associated: Gallery: Studying the clouds

“An hour earlier than taking this {photograph} I used to be strolling alongside the paths that encompass the attractive rock formation … [but] the day was very cloudy. Apparently, luck was not with me on this journey,” Negroni Rodriguez instructed the RMS. “Just for a second, the clouds allowed me to see El Chaltén — and to my shock, there was a spectacular and good lenticular cloud with a phenomenal and excellent determine that I had by no means seen.”

This kind of cloud kinds when sturdy wind blows into the facet of a mountain, skyscraper or different tall obstruction, in keeping with the Nationwide Climate Service. The mountain deflects the wind, forcing it right into a wave that crests over the mountaintop, dips down on the opposite facet, then rises up once more. Within the upward-moving elements of the wave, the air cools till it condenses into clouds. When the air descends once more on the downward-moving facet of the wave, the cloud evaporates. The result’s a spooky, stationary cloud perched atop the crest of the wave, sculpted right into a saucer form by the wind consistently rising and falling inside it.

This contest finalist captures a twister tearing by way of rural Colorado. Photographer Tori Jane Ostberg calls it “the pink terror.” (Picture credit score: Tori Jane Ostberg)

Negroni Rodriguez’s picture joins 25 different finalists within the RMS contest, which is co-sponsored by AccuWeather. Whereas the alien cloud was not one of many three grand-prize winners introduced on Oct. 17, it however rose to the highest of greater than 7,700 entries, in keeping with the RMS. To see a number of the different beautiful finalists — together with the massive winners — click on by way of this gallery. 

Initially revealed on Dwell Science.



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