The "Morning Glory" is back, git ya asses up to Burktown and take a look

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 10:32
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Yes it has come in early this year ..
There have been reports for the last week that it has come over Burktown but we have not yet seen it here in Doomadgee, the best place to see it is Burktown ...... just a note on Burktown it gets busy so ring ahead and for the people that enjoy a beer or 7... the pub BURNT down back in March so you can NOT buy drinks, if you want drinks BUY THEM BEFORE you get there, at Normanton from the East, Gregory Downs or Isa from the South and Alice or Katherine from the West, you cant get squat from Boorloola .... plan WELL ahead and YES you CAN bring whatever you like along the Savannah Way and as much as you like, just dont take it out of the car ...... also note Doomadgge roadhouse SHUTS on sundays so plan ahead .......

Cheers and enjoy... J&M&kids

Some info below ...

The Morning Glory cloud is a rare meteorological phenomenon occasionally observed in different locations around the world. The southern part of Northern Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria is the only known location where it can be predicted and observed on a more or less regular basis. The settlement of Burketown attracts glider pilots intent on riding this phenomenon.

Morning Glory as seen from a plane


Morning Glory clouds can most often be observed in Burketown in September to mid—November, when the chance to see it early in the morning is approximately 40%.

A Morning Glory cloud is a roll cloud that can be up to 1,000 kilometres long, 1 to 2 kilometres high, often only 100 to 200 metres above the ground and can move at speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour. Sometimes there is only one cloud, sometimes there are up to eight consecutive roll clouds.

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.

The cloud can also be described as a solitary wave or a soliton, which is a wave that has a single crest and moves without changing speed or shape.

History of exploration

Unusual cloud formations have been noticed here since ancient times. The local Garrawa Aboriginal people called it kangólgi. Royal Australian Air Force pilots first reported this phenomenon in 1942.

The Morning Glory cloud of the Gulf of Carpentaria has been studied by multiple teams of scientists since the early 1970s. The first studies were published by Reg H.Clarke (University of Melbourne). Multiple studies have followed since then, proposing diverse mathematical models explaining the complex movements of air masses in region.


Despite being studied extensively, the Morning Glory cloud is not clearly understood.

Regardless of the complexity behind the nature of this atmospheric phenomenon, some conclusions have been made about its causes. Through research, one of the main causes of most Morning Glory occurrences is due to the mesoscale circulations associated with sea breezes that develop over the peninsula and the gulf. On the large scale, Morning Glories are usually associated with frontal systems crossing central Australia and high pressure in northern Australia. Locals have noted that the Morning Glory is likely to occur when the humidity in the area is high, which provides moisture for the cloud to form, and when strong sea breezes have blown the preceding day.

Scenario for formation

The following is a summary of the conditions that cause the Morning Glory cloud to form in the Gulf of Carpentaria (after hypothesis of R.H.Clarke, as described in 1981)[1]. First, Cape York which is the peninsula that lies to the east of the gulf is large enough that sea breezes develop on both sides. The breeze from the Coral Sea coast blows in from the east and the breeze from the gulf blows in from the west. The two breezes meet in the middle of the peninsula, forcing the air to rise there and form a line of clouds over the spine of the peninsula. When night comes, the air cools and descends and at the same time a surface inversion forms over the gulf (where air temperature increases with height). The densities in this stable layer are different above and below the inversion. The air descending from the peninsula to the east goes underneath the inversion layer and this generates a series of waves or rolling cylinders which travel across the gulf. These cylinders of air roll along the underside of the inversion layer, so that the air rises at the front of the wave and sinks at the rear. In the early morning, the air is saturated enough so that the rising air in the front produces a cloud, which forms the leading edge of the cylinder, and evaporates in the back, hence forming the Morning Glory cloud. The cloud lasts until the surface inversion disappears with the heating of the day.

This is one scenario that explains the formation of the Morning Glory Cloud over the Gulf of Carpentaria, but other explanations have also been proposed.

There are other ways in which Morning Glory clouds form, especially in rarer cases in other parts of the world, but these are far less understood.

Local weather lore in the area suggests that when the fridges frost over and the café tables' corners curl upwards at the Burketown Pub, there is enough moisture in the air for the clouds to form. Reportedly, all winds cease at ground level as the cloud passes over.

One vantage point to see Australia's Morning Glory is from Burketown in the remote Far North Queensland around September and October. Towns in this part of the world are small and a long way apart, and Burketown has an influx of glider and hang-glider pilots at this time of year.

Other reported occurrences

Although the Morning Glory clouds over the southern part of Carpentaria Gulf are the most frequent and only here they can be predicted at a certain time of year, similar phenomena occasionally have been observed in other areas of the world, e.g. over the Central United States, the English Channel, over Berlin, Germany, Eastern Russia, as well as other maritime regions of Australia.

Morning Glory type roll clouds have been reported to occasionally happen off the Mexican coast in the Sea of Cortez. The phenomenon has also been observed from Sable Island, a small Canadian island located 180 km southeast of Nova Scotia; a Morning Glory cloud also passed through Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in April 2009[3]. In contrast to Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria where the Morning Glory cloud is visible in the morning, the clouds experienced in Nova Scotia have all occurred during the evening. Rare examples have been observed via satellite observation over the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf in the Eastern Kimberley region of Australia as well as over the Arabian Sea. A Morning Glory cloud was observed in 2007 over the Campos dos Goytacazes bay in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 10:35

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 10:35
and just a quick note for those about to dribble that it is a "copy n paste" .... well of couse it is, direct from "Wiki" and yes Doug also has a brillent report on it .....
Please enjoy my "copy n paste" and hope some of you get a chance to see it, it is a once in a lifetime experiance to see ....
Cheers "again"
AnswerID: 494287

Follow Up By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:42

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:42
Thats is unreal!!!
I have heard of it at various times over the years...but have never actually seen it or spoke to anyone who has....not even a photo either.
So there it is ....Thanks for posting this up is very interesting....n maybe I mite see it for real before I shuffle off....

Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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Follow Up By: Fiona & Paul - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:49

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:49
Good post Joe and we just missed it by three months. Oh well a few XXXX's at Broken Hill will be a good replacement.

Thanks for the timely reminder of one of the really great things we have to see on our trips around the bush.

Paul H

Paul H
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 20:12

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 20:12
Hi - good to see my expert advice on plagiarism was actually taken in :)


I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 12:13

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 12:13
Just a quick up-date on fuel ....... the Doomadgee Roadhouse has to close today at 3-30 and also tomorrow at 3-30 for funerals .........
In a nutshell PLEASE DONT rely on us for fuel as we seem to be having a lot of funerals at the moment and can not gaurentee we will be open ...
Remember Burktown has 24h c/c fuel and Gregory downs is open 7 days as is Boorloola AND Hells Gate still sells fuel ................. plan ahead eh

Hey here is an idea ......

drive a bit slower,
enjoy the country,
arrive alive
save heaps of fuel
and have a safe trip :-)

AnswerID: 494295

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 20:43

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 20:43
G'day Joe,

Working our way around currently at Tomato Island on the Roper moving to Limmin Bight tomorrow. Should see you in about a month as a wild guess, can you posptpone the cloud please? Just kidding, going as slow as possible!

Are you saying there is no fuel available at all or just on those days?

Kind regards

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Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, Sep 07, 2012 at 16:54

Friday, Sep 07, 2012 at 16:54
Yep have been following you, nice spot there eh ..
We go away in 3 weeks on leave so may miss you, the cloud may still be around you never know eh..
We do have HEAPS of fuel about 80,000L under the ground but as we are an Aboriginal community we have to close out of "respect" and sometimes that is at short notice ......... try not to stuff people around to much but sometimes we cant avoid it, our main "customer" is the local people so kinda encourage tourists to actually only use us as a back-up plan, sounds strange but tourism is not a big percentage at all so we can afford to turn people away, any other remote roadhouse probally could not do that, roundabout way we are lucky .... strange aint we hahaha
Enjoy your trip/s
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Reply By: Member - Old Girl - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 21:39

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 21:39
Hang Gliding Morning Glory
AnswerID: 494332

Reply By: Candace S. - Friday, Oct 05, 2012 at 20:50

Friday, Oct 05, 2012 at 20:50
Do any tour companies offer flights to see these?
AnswerID: 496206

Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, Oct 05, 2012 at 20:55

Friday, Oct 05, 2012 at 20:55
You can try "Savannah Aviation" but i have a feeling it may be over for this year, ring the guys in Burktown and they will be able to tell you, it only happens with cool nights inland and it has warmed up in the last week or so but they will know it all .......

Phone: +61 (0) 747 455 177
Freecall: 1800 455 445
Fax: +61 (0) 4745 5211
Cnr Beams & Bowen Streets
PO Box 5, Burketown
Queensland, 4830
Mount Isa
Phone: +61 (0) 747 491 888
Fax: +61 (0) 747 493 155
Normanton / Karumba
Phone: +61 (0) 747 451 681
FollowupID: 771847

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Oct 06, 2012 at 21:45

Saturday, Oct 06, 2012 at 21:45
I won't be in Australia this year! But I plan to go in 2014, maybe I can see this amazing phenomenen then. Thank you for the information about the flights.
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