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The Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia is home to one of the world's most extraordinary meteorological phenomenon. From late September to early November, before the start of the rainy season, the sky above Burketown in far North Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria, develops strange rolls of clouds called Morning Glory. These clouds, that form in a series of bands, can be up to 1,000 km long and 2 km tall and often form only 100 to 200 meters above the ground, attracting hang glider pilots who ride over it just as a surfboard rider does on the ocean.

Morning Glory clouds are often accompanied by dangerous turbulence such as sudden wind squalls, intense low-level wind shear, rapid increase in the vertical displacement of air parcels, and sharp pressure jump at the surface. In the front of the cloud there is strong vertical upward motion of the air, while the air behind the cloud sinks creating a rolling effect. The clouds can achieve an airspeed of 60 kilometers per hour over a surface with little discernible wind. Showers or thunderstorms may also develop in its wake.

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.





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