Morning Glory Clouds: Australia (Hang Gliding Video)

We have a very interesting cloud phenomenon here in Australia called the Morning Glory Clouds, these cloud formations are found around the world but what makes them different in Australia is the fact that it is only in Northern Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria that these clouds are not only frequent but they can also be predicted as well.

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Carpen...

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia. Nearby bodies of water include the Arafura Sea and Coral Sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most commonly seen in Burketown around September to November in the early hours of the morning. These clouds are like rolls and they can be up to 1,000 kilometres or 620 miles long, usually about 100 to 200 metres or 300 to 660 feet above the ground, they move about 60 kilometres or 37 miles per hour.

morning-glory-cloud by Mick Petroff

morning-glory-cloud by Mick Petroff (Photo credit: Mick E. Talbot)

These clouds are not fully understood, but there have been different people, with different ideas on why these clouds form. The Morning Glory is often accompanied by sudden wind squalls, intense low-level wind shear, a rapid increase in the vertical displacement of air parcels, and a sharp pressure jump at the surface. In the front of the cloud, there is strong vertical motion that transports air up through the cloud and creates the rolling appearance, while the air in the middle and rear of the cloud becomes turbulent and sinks.

If you would like to know more Wikipedia has some information.

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81 Responses to Morning Glory Clouds: Australia (Hang Gliding Video)

  1. niasunset says:

    WOW! This is so interesting for me dear Mags, I haven’t known these clouds before… But how beautiful they are…I loved the name of them too. And he is amazing in this video… Thank you so much, have a nice day, with my love, nia

  2. El Guapo says:

    Ok, so as soon as I watched this, I went to check out the upstate NY hanggliding schools.
    For someone that refuses to do any of this stuff, you are a terrible influence, Magsx2!!!
    Keep it up! πŸ˜‰

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi El Guapo,
      Refuses is a good word, but terrified is even a better word. πŸ˜€
      I love watching these people that love to do this, and so wish I wasn’t so chicken, I think it would be an awesome experience. πŸ™‚

  3. Linda Vernon says:

    I’m with you Mags, I love watching but wouldn’t necessarily want to be up there myself. Those clouds are so weird. I’ve never seen them before! Leave it to Austrailia to come up with clouds like that! HA! πŸ™‚

  4. This is amazing! I love to look at cloud formations. I’ve never seen anything like these before. So cool. I imagine that the hang glider athlete must feel like he’s soaring through heaven… Beautiful.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi A Gripping Life,
      I agree, what a fantastic experience to soar above and around these clouds, it would be a bit like soaring through heaven. πŸ™‚

  5. They are a real conversation piece!


  6. travelrat says:

    We call them roller clouds or Helm Bars … if you get a glider (I’ve flown regular gliders, but never a hang glider) into the right place, you can keep it up all day. But, lower down, there’s a thing called a rotor … you do not want to get into that, unless you want your aircraft to come out in several little pieces.

    The most famous on is on Cross Fell, in Cumbria … I know someone who flew a Jet Provost trainer into it, switched the engine off and kept it up for 30 minutes … and landed half an hour after he should have run out of fuel, with 15 minutes’ worth still in his tanks.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      They are called Morning Glory Clouds in Australia mainly because they only ever appear in the early hours of the morning.
      Very interesting about the Jet Provost trainer, the wind sheers that accompany these clouds is unreal, just so very amazing, that is one of reasons of course why the gliders love these clouds so much. πŸ˜€

      How are you enjoying your holiday so far in OZ? I hope your are having a fantastic time. πŸ™‚

  7. A M A Z I N G Mags. I found the vid’ fascinating. Cheers! πŸ™‚

  8. Lynn says:

    I feel like eating those clouds,really nice.And..nice guy too.I wouldn’t mind to fly with him!! πŸ™‚

  9. I’ve NEVER seen ANYthing like that. Absolutely AMAZING!

  10. E.C. says:

    It’d be interesting know what the aboriginal legend of the this cloud phenomena is.
    Morning Glory Clouds are so fascinating and mysterious. It’s a cool looking phenomena to be sure. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    • magsx2 says:

      This may interest you:
      To the Aboriginal people of the area, the Morning Glory is a good omen of abundant birdlife to follow. And sure enough, as the last of these stratospheric blockbusters roll across the Gulf late in the year, the first rains of the wet season begin.
      From ABC Science.

  11. BoJo Photo says:

    If you had of asked me if such clouds were possible I would have said nope! πŸ™‚ Truly amazing.

    I marvel at your interest in all things.

  12. Pam says:

    Very cool! I LOVE clouds!

  13. Rebekah says:

    Such beautiful clouds … almost surreal. I’d do anything [maybe not the hang gliding] to see them.

  14. These clouds are stunning. I just discovered them myself on a website not long ago, and very fun to stumble across them here on your blog. Great postβ€”thanks for sharing!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi corinthcorners,
      That is great that you have read about these clouds, they certainly are truly amazing, especially the force of the wind sheers attached to them. πŸ˜€
      Thank You very much for visiting and taking the time to comment.

  15. susielindau says:

    They are cloud made by seeding. They are experimenting all over the world. They eventually spread out and create a filmy cloud cover. Normal jet streams dissipate, but cloud seeding jet streams don’t. If you look in the sky, they roll out and eventually become rows. We watched them form back in Wisconsin when we visited last summer.

    And we wonder why our weather is so weird. Didn’t someone say, “It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature????”

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi susielindau,
      Yes I know about cloud seeding, but you will find that these rolling clouds are not seeded, it is all done by Nature. Cloud seeding had been done in Australia of course, seeding has also been found to be harmful in a lot of ways, but Governments around the world still use the technology, for rain, hail, and snow, it is also very expensive.

      The Morning Glory Clouds are totally different, true there are only theory’s about these clouds, but these clouds are huge and go for hundreds of miles, they have been around in this area for centuries, Aboriginals of old have talked about them, there have been studies of these clouds for a long time, seeding didn’t start till the 1940’s.

      If you read the Wikipedia link that I have in my post for these clouds, it would help to understand them better, or the link I also left in comments here a bit further up the page is another great read, from ABC science, in ways it is better than the Wiki one.
      Or if you have already done that here is a link about cloud seeding that you may be interested in.
      Cloud Seeding Wikipedia

  16. Oh wow i just loved the image…the clouds look like fluffy cream roll or something…( i should eat something)
    nothing can ever beat the magic and beauty of always creats wonderful images and illusions
    what a beautiful post loved it πŸ™‚

  17. blueberriejournal says:

    Fascinating. I’ve never heard of such clouds before.

  18. I didn’t know about this phenomenon before. But you are always bringing new and exciting information into our day. Love this. Who knew clouds could form like waves?

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi writingfeemail,
      I’m glad I could show you something a bit different, the formation is very much likes waves, especially with the blue sky. πŸ˜€

  19. aFrankAngle says:

    Outstanding! After finishing the video, I did searched this topic on Google Images – and the results were awesome. Thanks for making my morning glorious.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi aFrankAngle,
      Good on you, they are really beautiful clouds, and there are a lot of awesome photos out there that people have taken, all over the world, it is an unreal phenomena. πŸ™‚

  20. Love this kind of stuff.

  21. Amazing! It almost makes you feel free up there πŸ™‚ flying with the birds. I always wanted to touch a cloud!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Any Lucky Penny,
      It would be a fantastic thing to do, but I’m a bit of a coward, so thank goodness there are people that put their flights on video. πŸ˜€

  22. Selma says:

    Spectacular. It must be the most incredible feeling in the world to fly like that. The clouds are beautiful. WOOO HOOOO. I love it!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Selma,
      I wish I was game to do something like this, and to be able to do this over these clouds must of been truly a spectacular feeling. πŸ™‚

  23. Lived a lot of my life up North and seen a few cyclones and cloud formations
    This great showing of the clouds is truly unique to OZ ,
    Ian aka Emu

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi aussieian,
      They are unique to OZ in the sense we know exactly where and when they will form. These clouds in other parts of the world cannot be predicted, I think also the clouds are longer here as well I think I read, regardless, what a way to see them, soring feely above these magnifcent clouds. πŸ˜€

  24. WOW! Awesome! I’ve never heard of these before!

  25. I’ve never heard of these, Mags, thank you so much for sharing! They are amazing! I never in a million years would have thought clouds could look that that. Or that you could go hang-gliding off them! Remarkable.

    You mentioned they only occur in a certain part of Australia. And I realized, I know very little about Australian geography. How is it broken down? For example, in the US, the southeast is known for being very hot and humid. The midwest for tornadoes. The northeast for cold and snow. Etc. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me about your own country’s weather patterns?

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi happykidshappymom,
      They are wonderful and so different to any other standard clouds, especially with the winds that are accosiated with them. πŸ˜€
      Rather than me explain all the differnt weather we have here in OZ, this Government web site explains it all very well, and you may find it all very interesting as well. πŸ™‚
      Australian Weather and Different Seasons.

  26. All those waves rolling across the sky, much bigger than ocean waves rolling to the shore, are very awe-inspiring. The hang-glider looked like a little insect. This world is so beautiful once you get away from all the human mess.

  27. Arindam says:

    Wow! These clouds are looking beautiful. From where you gather so much information. Sometimes I wonder do we all live in the same world, where you are living! Great great post Mags. πŸ™‚

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Arindam,
      The clouds are very unique and only found above this one town in Australia, but of course they are in other parts of the world as well, but these clouds here are more widely known. πŸ™‚

  28. barb19 says:

    Wow – what an awesome experience (but not for me!) It scares me to death just thinking about going up there! So glad this guy Mark Watson did, because we get to enjoy the experience through his excellent photography skills.
    These clouds are an incredible phenomenon!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi barb19,
      I’m with you on that one, it looks fantastic but you would never get me doing it. πŸ™‚
      The photography is beautiful that’s for sure, it all looks so great above these clouds, yes an incredible phenomenon.

  29. Denis MacDonald says:

    I learned about the “Morning Glory” cloud formation a few years ago, so I was happy to see an article and video of Mother Nature doing ones of the things that she does best.
    When the recent one happened, I saw it on radar on the ‘bom’ website, and all I could say was “wow”
    Thank you for the article.

  30. Margie says:

    I’d love to fly over these clouds and take photos! Wouldn’t that be quite the thing to blog about!

  31. Absolutely amazing video!

  32. What a breathtaking phenomenon! Amazing the way they describe the clouds as a tsunami in the sky. Kind of eerie and lovely at the same time… Australia seems to be full of mysterious wonders!

  33. Beautiful formations and colors within the formations! Maybe in another lifetime I will see them. Thank you for your continuing education about Australia!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi purpleborough,
      These clouds are just so unusual aren’t they, at least you got to see and know about them even though they are so far away. πŸ™‚

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