Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Name This Cloud (Again)

It's back.  The infamous shallow cumuliform cloud that sometimes drapes itself over Lone Peak and the Little Cottonwood-American Fork divide during periods of southerly and southwesterly flow.  The cloud, which was the subject of a Wasatch Weather Weenies post in October, made an appearance again this morning.

Looking at Lone Peak from the U at 1600 UTC 22 Feb 2011
The display was quite spectacular this morning with snow spilling over Lone Peak into Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The KSLC sounding from this morning provides some insight into the cloud dynamics.  The flow is southerly below 800 mb, but veers to southwesterly at 700 mb (roughly crest level.  Note the steep lapse rate from 750-600 mb, but also the inversion at 600 mb.

Perhaps forced ascent is leading to convection over the barrier that is capped by the inversion?  The cloud-form is fascinating and deserving of a name.  Suggestions?  


  1. How about a lenticular inversion cloud? I used to live in Seattle, and Mt. Rainier had lenticular clouds a lot; this is Utah's version due to inversion layers here? -D.Grant@utah.edu

  2. I think you are correct that it is lenticular-like. Perhaps we can call it the Lone Peak Cap cloud?

  3. I thought it was called 'Steenburgh's Cloud' ....

  4. I was thinking Lone Peak Cap Cloud before I read that you suggested that, too!

  5. How about the Lone Peak toupee! :)