Clouds can be very impressive, and sometimes even scary! In this photography tour, we’ll be looking at the incredible Arcus cloud formations. If you’ve ever seen one of this, it’s likely you’ll never forget it, even if you didn’t know the name for it at the time. There is such diversity in the types of clouds and the designs they can take. It is quite fascinating to see these pictures. Enjoy!

First up are Roll clouds which are one of two cloud types under the heading of Arcus cloud. Roll clouds are usually seen detached from other cloud features. As you can guess, this cloud forms a long horizontal tube shape and is relatively rare. There is one place in the world where roll clouds occur frequently and that is in Queensland, Australia. There will be a photo below of these roll clouds called Morning Glory clouds.

Roll Cloud Under Thunderstorms – Racine, Wisconson

Roll Cloud Racine, WI

Photograph by Eazydp


Roll Cloud Over Las Olas Beach, Uruguay

Roll Cloud Las Olas Beach Uruguay

Photograph by Daniela Mirner Eberl


Roll Cloud off  the Coast of Brazil

Roll Cloud off Coast of Brazil

Photograph by Capt. Andeas M. van der Wurff


Morning Glory Cloud (Roll Cloud)

Morning Glory clouds can be observed from Burketown from late September to early November. There are generally only a handful of well-formed spectacular clouds during this period at Burketown. During the 2012 season, there were only four to be seen from there, but quite a few ragged unspectacular cloud lines were seen. Often they start to break up before arriving at Burketown or pass to the north and only stay well-formed over water. In an aircraft, there is a significantly better chance of sighting the cloud.

A Morning Glory cloud is a Roll cloud that can be up to 620 miles long, 0.62 to 1.2 miles high, often only 330 to 660 feet above the ground and can move at speeds up to 37 miles 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 or an undular bore, which is a wave that has a single crest and moves without changing speed or shape. [Source: Wikipedia]

Morning Glory Cloud – Burketown, Australia

MorningGlory Cloud Burketown From Plane

Photograph by Mick Petroff


Shelf Clouds

The other type of Arcus cloud is the shelf cloud–usually attached to the base of a parent cloud. In most cases, the parent cloud is a thunderstorm but can turn up with any convective cloud formations. Shelf clouds are found at the front of storms and are not to be mistaken with wall clouds which form at the rear of a storm. Following are some shelf cloud formations.

Shelf cloud over Wagga Wagga NSW, Australia

Shelf cloud over Wagga Wagga NSW, Australia

Photograph by Bidgee


Shelf Cloud – Enschede, The Netherlands

Shelf Cloud

Photograph by John Kerstholt


Shelf Cloud on the Baltic Sea Near Island Oland, Sweden

Wall Cloud on the Baltic Sea Near Island Oland, Sweden

Photograph by Arnold Paul


Shelf Cloud Over Rapid City South Dakota

Shelf Cloud Over Rapid City South Dakota

Photograph by unknown


Another Shelf Cloud

Shelf Cloud Somewhere

Photograph by Longyester


Shelf Cloud Over East Lansing Michigan

Shelf Cloud Over East Lansing Michigan

Photograph by Veryhuman


Kearney Nebraska Self Cloud

Kearney Nebraska Self Cloud

Photograph by nebraskasc

Those are some amazing photos! If you liked them, we’d love it if you shared this page with your friends! …

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