Friday, October 10, 2014

Rarest cloud formations in the world

One of the rarest cloud formations in the world is about to appear in Australia
FIONA MACDONALD   
THURSDAY, 09 OCTOBER 2014
At this time of year, an extremely rare, wormhole-like weather phenomena rolls through Queensland, Australia.
Known as morning glory clouds, these long bands of cigar-shaped formations can stretch up to 1,000 kilometres in length. And they can only be seen reliably in one place in the world - Australia’s Gulf Country township around the Gulf of Carpenteria in northwestern Queensland, each spring.
They look like some kind of alien wormhole, but the iconic roll shape of the cloud is actually caused by a drop in temperature, a spike in pressure and strong sea breezes. Because of these conditions, air at the front edge of the cloud is moving up rapidly, while the air at the back is dropping, rolling the cloud into a neat little cylinder. It’s been reported that up to 10 of these clouds can appear across the sky at one time, up to 2 kilometres off the ground.
The morning glory clouds can travel at an incredible speed of 10 to 20 metres per second - that’s around 60 kilometres per hour - with new cloud continuously being formed at the leading edge while being eroded from behind. While scientists still don’t fully understand the weather conditions that lead to the clouds, they’re associated with humidity in the area and strong sea breezes across the Gulf of Carpenteria, which are the conditions that occur here each spring between late Spetember and early November.
Around the same time, hundreds of hang gliders from around the world flock to the area in the hopes of “surfing” for hundreds of kilometres along the thermals in front of the clouds.
I've never actually hang glided before, but this photo makes me want to join them.
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