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Did you see these rare wave-like clouds above Brisbane this morning?

Tuesday September 21, 2021 - 04:32 EST
ABC image
The strong cool change moving across southern Queensland and the weather in Brisbane created the perfect conditions for the fluctus clouds this morning. - ABC

Rare clouds resembling waves could be seen over Brisbane this morning as a strong southerly change moved across southern Queensland.

The fluctus clouds, caused by the Kelvin-Helmholtz phenomenon, could be seen by commuters on the inner city bypass around Bowen Hills and Kelvin Grove this morning.

Meteorologist Peter Claassen from the Bureau of Meteorology said the clouds required specific conditions to form.

"They're not commonly observed around the south-east of Queensland and require specific conditions to be observed ? conditions which may be met when a strong southerly change moves through the region," he said.

Mr Claassen said today's strong wind shear and strong wind change moving through the state's south provided "the perfect set up" for the clouds to form.

"With the southerly change moving through, there's quite strong winds around Brisbane and in the morning, at the surface, the winds are light but as you go up they get stronger and stronger," he said.

"[There's] initial stability for the cloud to rise, and where the layer essentially breaks ? you have warm air at the top of the cloud, and if the air is warmer above the cloud it will stop rising and start descending and break in a wave-like pattern.

"The warmer air above is moving more quickly than the cooler air below, so the cloud can't rise and gets blown over and descends into these wave-like patterns."

Mr Claassen said the clouds were more common in the morning when the air closer to the ground hasn't warmed up yet.

"A cooler change like this is a common time to see them and this is an especially strong cool change for this time of year," he said.

"We were getting winds of 50 kilometres per hour this morning."


© ABC 2021

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