Today is a still, cool morning in the desert SW (Las Cruces NM) . The last four days we have had rain. Not just any rain, but severe drought ending rain. (We’ll actually see how it pans in Drought Monitor next week.) But, that relief, the refreshed vegetation, the extra chirp in the birds across the desert and that unique creosote aroma the desert provides after a nice rain is magical, therapeutic actually, but why I wonder?
We sit and feel like everything is new, calm and unlimited potential is ahead of us. The oppressive heat, that just weighs in the background of our daily activities has taken a break. And in doing so, we only then realize how oppressive it actually has been on us. How much the heat and sun have been eating away at our mental capacity – pushed the stress level a couple steps up the ladder.
Then a pause. A beautiful double rainbow over the fog covered mountains, aroma therapy, rain refreshed life once again abundant — nice day…absolutely nice day.
The Atmospheric Affects ( #AtmoFX) Mental Health — just doesn’t matter why.
One of many majestic atmospheric effects New Mexico has to offer.
On Wednesday (Feb 3rd) I tweeted (#NMwx), a picture (top) of these spaceship looking clouds over the Organ Mountains in Southern New Mexico . The view is from the western mesa in Las Cruces. (The other two were taken on 12 Dec 2020, before sunset and as the sun was setting.) I wasn’t the only one, many images covered Twitter with #NMwx.
Any time they show up, I get multiple inquiry’s as to what they are. Impressive to look at, many times they look some future looking spacecraft, or for New Mexico a space alien craft.
It is always something causing you to take pause as they are not seen everyday, or everywhere. It is but one of the many majestic atmospheric effects (#AtmoFX) New Mexico has to offer alongside the purple hue depicted in so much artwork and the “Albuquerque Box” that makes for a perfect place for the Balloon Fiesta, to name a few.
So, what are they and how are they formed?
They are called Lenticular clouds, or technically these are Altocumulus Standing Lenticular (ACSL) clouds as informed by the National Weather Service – El Paso tweet about the same phenomenon (below). [ Alto – is middle part of the atmosphere; cumulus clouds are more isolated clouds and more convective in nature (“puffy”) as oppose to stratus which are stratified and cover a layer of the atmosphere]
A little moisture, some strong wind above us, mountains & associated turbulence can bring Altocumulus Standing Lenticular (ACSL) clouds. These appeared this afternoon near the Organ Mountains NM courtesy of Greg Lundeen.
Lenticular Clouds are a phenomena caused by strong winds encountering a feature, in this case the Organ Mountains. In doing so the flow is diverted up and over the mountains. When there is enough moisture in the air, those air parcels cool as they increase in height until they reach saturation and become, for lack of a better term, a cloud drop. Then, as the wind takes those parcels down the other side of the mountain the air parcels warm as they descend and the drops evaporate. All with the appearance of a stationary (or standing) cloud.
Celebrate the unique atmospheric effects here in New Mexico and show us what you see with #NMwx.
Enjoy additional, breathtaking photo’s tweeted on Wednesday below by the NM State Climatologist (@NMClimate) and (@AstroCristo) ▪ #AtmoFX.
Great lenticular cloud display today from Las Cruces. It provided a good distraction from preparing multiple drought presentations for next week. Of course I had to get a better view from Tortugas Mtn. #nmwx
Take time to visit Cliff Mass’ blog where he has a video of a conversation he had with Rear Admiral John Okon. Admiral Okon is the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy
“If we don’t have that assured predictive battlespace awareness…we’re probably going to lose”