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Basin weather showcased

Mammatus clouds over Daylesford, Victoria feature in the Bureau of Meteorology’s 2022 weather calendar.
Published: 01 December 2021

Daylesford’s Martina Nist, like many people, enjoys a sleep-in on a Sunday morning. When her partner yelled at her to get out of bed to see the cloud formation near their home, she was annoyed. But all was forgiven when she saw these extraordinary clouds and she snapped a quick photo of them on her mobile phone.

“We were both amazed, I stood there with my mouth open. In all our lives we'd never seen anything like it, ever. It was definitely worth getting out of bed for! The clouds were so low I felt I could just reach out and prick them and they'd burst like a balloon. They only lasted about 2 minutes, then they dispersed.”

What Ms Nist photographed are known as mammatus clouds, which appear as sagging pouches of sinking air that hang from the underside of a parent cloud.

Mammatus clouds captured over Daylesford, Victoria by Martina Nist
Mammatus clouds captured over Daylesford, Victoria by Martina Nist

They are formed as air descends and the water in the air evaporates. Under certain atmospheric conditions this evaporation causes an increased downward movement of air, which drags the cloud down with it. The result of this is sagging pouches or bulges from the underside of a cloud. Mammatus clouds are associated with cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds and can be a sign that that a storm is particularly intense. They can also be linked with turbulence. When this image was snapped on 15 November 2020 the storms that day caused damage across the region.

Ms Nist’s photo is the only image captured in the Murray–Darling Basin to feature in the Bureau of Meteorology’s 2022 weather calendar (Daylesford is in the Loddon catchment). Each month of the 2022 calendar features a different weather phenomenon from across Australia selected as part of a national photography competition, which drew more than 1,400 submissions. Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist, Dean Narramore said this year's images showcased the diverse and spectacular range of weather Australia experiences.

"We love putting the calendar out every year, because we get to teach people about how the weather works all the while admiring these spectacular images of uniquely Australian landscapes and breathtaking weather events. The calendar is a fantastic opportunity to further educate Australians about the weather events and other phenomena the Bureau monitors and informs the community about every day.”

Ms Nist’s main photography tip is that you need to be in the right place at the right time.

“Be there and just snap, have your camera on you – simple as that. I ran out there with my camera. If I'd had to go back inside, I would have missed it. When someone says, ‘You've got to have a look at this’, just go!”

While not all of the photos in the Bureau's 2022 calendar are from within the Basin, they are so beautiful we had to share them below.

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