Phenomena

Roll Clouds

The roll cloud, or Morning Glory cloud, is a rare phenomenon that looks rather like a horizontal tornado. In reality, it is part of a soliton wave traveling through the atmosphere. At its leading edge, moist air is forced upward, causing water vapor to condense, and, at the trailing edge, air moves downward, dissipating the cloud. These clouds are most frequently observed in Australia near the Gulf of Carpentaria, where local geography and sea breezes promote their growth during springtime. The clouds do appear elsewhere on occasion; the photos above show rolls clouds in Calgary, Alberta and coastal Uruguay, respectively.  (Image credits: G. E. Nyland, D. M. Eberl; see also: Z. Ouazzani)

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