Australian Weather Calendar: April 2016

April photograph by Lucy Stevenson

Working for a ground handling company at Sunshine Coast Airport in 2008, Shane Loweke was on the tarmac waiting for an aircraft when he saw a shelf cloud loom in from the southwest.

As is usually the case, this low, wedge-shaped formation was attached to a cumulonimbus, or thunderstorm, cloud. A shelf cloud is formed by the interaction between a downdraft of cool air coming out of a storm and an updraft of warm air rising into the storm. As the cool air moves away from the storm, it undercuts the warm air and the shelf cloud is formed at the boundary of the two air masses.

Shane was spared a drenching, though: ‘Funnily enough it turned out to be nothing,’ he says. ‘It sort of blew over pretty quick and we got a little bit of rain out of it.’

Shane was using a Canon 40D.