Strange tubular clouds - Morning Glory clouds

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Strange tubular clouds - Morning Glory clouds

These long, clouds can grow to be 600 miles long and can move at up to 35 miles per hour, causing problems for aircraft even on windless days.

Such rolls clouds are best known in northern Australia as the Morning Glory. This is one of the world’s greatest weather phenomena. Around this time of year, the Morning Glory rolls in near dawn as one or more tubular clouds rapidly advances low across the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Queensland.

It can span the entire horizon in a spectacular display up to 1,000km (620 miles) long. And because the cloud rides on a gravity wave in the atmosphere, it has become a magnet for gliders and microlights to ride like a surfer riding a wave. It is claimed to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in gliding.

They appear every fall over Burketown, Queensland, Australia, a small number of pilots and tourists travel there each year in hopes of “cloud surfing” with the mysterious phenomenon.

Similar tubular shaped clouds called roll clouds appear in various places around the globe. But nobody has yet figured out what causes the Morning Glory clouds.

Here are some people hang gliding on these clouds

morningglory-clouds.jpg - 19.89kb
By netchicken: posted on 21-12-2009

Here is a video of some tube clouds

No indication of location

On June 18 last year a Japanese coastguard aircraft flying over the Sea of Okhotsk, off the coast of Hokkaido, spotted a magnificent and very peculiar cloud formation. It looked like long rolls of carpet parallel to each other, curving away into the distance.

These may have been roll clouds. They are made by waves in the atmosphere known as “gravity trains” and behave rather like waves from a boat. When a boat tears across a lake, water in front of the boat is pushed upward. Gravity pulls the water back down again and this sets up a wave. Usually we cannot feel these gravity waves in the atmosphere because air is far less dense than water, but you are definitely aware of them in an aircraft when they make for a very bumpy ride, in clear-air disturbances, although usually without clouds.

The clouds may be formed by Gravity waves (another name for "we don't really know")

gravity-wave-clouds.jpg - 22.14kb
By netchicken: posted on 21-12-2009

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