Morning Glory Cloud

Text: Garry Benson

Photos: Various authors, attributed where possible

In Northern Australia, between September and November, an extraordinary phenomenon of unparalleled beauty occurs: the Morning Glory Cloud.

image1-cloud

Morning Glory Cloud approaching Kangaroo Point, 1993

If the weather situation is calm, every morning when the sun rises, a wave-shaped cloud, 1.6 to 3.2 kilometres high and 600 to 1,000 kilometres, i.e, that it fills the horizon, moving at a speed of 40 kilometres per hour.

image2-cloud

Photo credit: Unknown

Sometimes there are several waves and always aligned from east to west. The cause is a clash of air masses of different temperatures.

image3-cloud

Photo credit: Mick Petroff

In the early hours of the morning, a mass of warm, moist air, from the sea, slips over the cooler air that is in the upper layers.

image4-cloud

Photo credit: Unknown

In late 2006, scientists from several countries travelled to study the phenomenon, which occurs in many places in the world. It has been observed on the Catalan coast of Spain.

image5-cloud

Photo credit: Unknown

The clash of air masses also takes place in Spain, but does not result in the formation of this peculiar cloud. This phenomenon is unique to Australia.

image6-cloud

Photo credit: Unknown

Since 1989, every spring, when the phenomenon occurs, hang-gliders and para-gliders cloud surf waves like waves in an ocean.

image7-cloud

Photo credit: Unknown

You have to be careful because the waves produce strong turbulence and can be dangerous. They fly in zigzag patterns and can travel up to 480 kilometres.

image8-cloud

Photo credit: © J. Eduardo Juárez Herrerá

References

Morning Glory Articles (http://dropbears.com/m/morning_glory/articles.htm) (accessed 20 April 2014)

What’s the story Morning Glory? Sydney Morning Herald, (http://www.smh.com.au/environment/whats-the-story-morning-glory-20090825-exlt.html) (accessed 20 April 2014)

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About

Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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Posted in Photography, Travel

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