Morning Glory Cloud

The sky glories in beautiful cloud formations. Three of the most fascinating could be billow clouds, wave clouds and roll clouds.

Billow clouds mimic cresting waves of water. They form where two horizontal winds meet, warmer air over the top of cooler air. The upper layers of warm air, which are moving at very high speeds, pick up the top layer of cloud that is passing through and forms these wave-like rolls. The air then drops like a wave making these clouds look like breaking ocean waves.

The wave or undulating cloud is a distinctive but rare cloud that appears to be rippling waves in the skies. These wave-like structures form on the underside of established clouds and make the overall cloud look like a rough sea surface when they are viewed from below.

Most spectacular of all clouds are roll clouds. Roll clouds are a low tubular cloud formation stretching from horizon to horizon. The cloud formation is natural, but incredibly rare. They are typically found along coastal regions resulting from a sea breeze or cold front.

The longest known roll cloud is called the Morning Glory because it always appears at dawn. The southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia, is the only known location where Morning Glory clouds can be regularly observed and forecast with some degree of accuracy due to the configuration of land and sea and orientation to the wind in the area. From late September to early November, the sky develops strange rolls of clouds. These clouds form in a series of bands that can be up to 620 miles long, only 300 to 600 feet above the ground and can move at speeds up to 37 miles per hour.

The Cape York Peninsula extends north between the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west and the Coral Sea to the east. During the day, 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 collide over inland parts of the peninsula, forcing the air to rise where they form a line of clouds over the spine of the peninsula. When night falls, the air cools and descends, meeting a surface inversion which forms over the gulf. 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. As day breaks, the air is saturated enough so that the rising air in the front produces the cloud, which forms the leading edge of the cylinder, and evaporates in the back, hence forming the full Morning Glory roll cloud. The cloud lasts until the surface inversion disappears with the heating of the day.

Morning Glory clouds can appear as one solitary cloud or more frequently as successive waves of up to ten, strung out like rope lines across the landscape. Technically, this makes the Morning Glory the world’s biggest wave.

Taken from Wonder World – Roll Clouds – Clouds That Look a Tidal Wave; Glory Cloud

“God’s glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, ‘the balancings of the clouds’ (Job 37:16), the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night—all were objects of study by the pupils of earth’s first school.” Child Guidance, 45