Why I love seeing lenticular clouds here in New Mexico

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – taken by yours truly on January 10, 2017 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico)

by Norio Hayakawa,  March 5, 2023

According to Wikipedia, lenticular clouds  (Latin: Lenticularis lentil-shaped, from lenticula lentil)  are stationary clouds that form mostly in the troposphere, typically in parallel alignment to the wind direction.  They are often comparable in appearance to a lens or saucer.  Nacreous clouds that form in the lower stratosphere sometimes have lenticular shapes.

There are three main types of lenticular clouds:  altocumulus standing lenticular (ACSL), stratocumulus standing lenticular (SCSL), and cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL), varying in altitude above the ground.

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – taken by yours truly on January 8, 2017 in Rio Rancho, looking at the Sandia Mountains)

It’s not everyday that you see these fascinating cloud formation.  I am fortunate to live in New Mexico where I have seen and photographed these wonderful work of nature, especially during the cold days.

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – taken by yours truly from near our home in Albuquerque, November 10, 2022, looking at the Sandia Mountains)

Even on cold days, however, there has to be a right atmospheric condition for these to form.

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – a huge one hiding behind another cloud, taken by yours truly on November 6, 2017, in Rio Rancho)

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – a rare, dark lenticular, taken by yours truly in Rio Rancho in May, I don’t recall the exact date)

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – The “morning glory” has appeared over the Sandia Mountains as I was taking a walk around the block, but then it dissipated within a couple of minutes – – March 10, 2023, 9 a.m., in Albuquerque, New Mexico)

My photos of lenticular clouds are not really that great but just seeing them with my naked eyes really gives me peace and admiration for the work of nature.  To me it’s God’s work and a personal reminder of his glory, even if it lasts only for a short time.

(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – taken by yours truly on November 28, 2018 at Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque)

Yes, it is a visible manifestation of God on earth, whose presence is portrayed through this fascinating natural occurrence.  It’s almost like a Shekinah glory, at least, to me.

What is the meaning of Shekinah glory?

This concept is found in Judaism.  The Hebrew Bible mentions several places where the presence of God was felt and experienced as a Shekinah, including the burning bush and the cloud that rested on Mount Sinai.  The Shekhinah was often pictured as a cloud or as a pillar of fire and was referred to as the glory of God.

Here are much better photographs taken by others.

This one was taken by Antonia Melendez from Albuquerque on January 3, 2021, above the Sandia Mountains:


And here is one taken by Bruce Welton on February 8, 2018 in Albuquerque, above the Sandia Mountains – – this is one of the best photos I have seen:




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2 thoughts on “Why I love seeing lenticular clouds here in New Mexico

  1. In Michigan I have seen some magnificent dark red sunsets after thunderstorms, but rarely if ever witnessed lenticular formations. Arizona had very nice evening sunsets. Have you ever seen a roll cloud? Those are just absolutely crazy.

    A brilliant sunset is definitely a reminder of intelligent design. One day beautiful colors shining at sunset, the next day ominous dark clouds about to erupt into a violent storm. Perhaps we developed our behavior from it, capable of both great and terrible things.


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