Today on Photon Phriday, we answer the question, do mountains wear hats? This path that we're looking at is over Mt. Rainier in western Washington, which is the largest of the Cascade volcanoes. It's also known as Tahoma or Tacoma to the local Salish people. On clear windy days Mt. Rainier has a cloud form on top of it, as moist air is forced up, passing over the mountain. And as it goes up, the air cools, condenses, and forms the cloud.
This particular type of cloud is called a lenticular cloud. And they can look like disks or UFOs. And they form a cloud hat. ICESat-2 is providing a wealth of data for glaciologists here in Washington. We can take looks at our glaciers that form on these volcanoes. And we can see how they change as we get more and more repeat passes.
This is one of the few occasions where we have ice, cloud and land detected by satellite. So we did it!