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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 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 (620 mi) long, 1 to 2 kilometres (0.62 to 1.2 mi) high, often only 100 to 200 metres (330 to 660 ft) above the ground and can move at speeds up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) 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.

Morning Glory

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.

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Rob Hanbury has been twice (will visit it 2011 again) and know people who go every year for the last 14 yrs. It is very predictable but only occurs for a few weeks each year.

The Morning Glory is the most spectacular soaring I have done. For instance; we climbed on a wave on the coast at 3000 ft, we surfed along it, not racing hard but just enjoying it, 250km out we came to the end of it, turned and surfed back again. That day we did 500km at 195kph before 10am in the morning. It is just magic and varies every day. This year we even got unusual high lift, I believe wave lift formed on top of the Morning Glory lift. One day the Morning Glory was at about the standard 500 to 3000ft but we climbed further upto 12,000 to 15,000ft where there was a reflected cloud system.

The Stemme is the perfect glider for this flying as one must take off at daybreak, and then fly for up to an hour on the motor finding the Morning Glory, then shut down and soar for 4 to 5 hours. It also works in other touring motorgliders or occasionally for hang gliders but really one must be able to motor to connect.

Stemme over Morning Glory