Australian Weather Calendar: February 2019

February photograph by Elise Lawry

Perfectly stationed to witness the storm

It was a work trip that found amateur photographer and coastal and environmental engineer, Elise Lawry, at Legune Station, a remote cattle station in northwest Northern Territory. Conducting site work for consultancy Water Technology on 'Project Sea Dragon', a large-scale prawn aquaculture project being developed in northern Australia, Elise was able to witness first-hand the challenges and opportunities of the wet season and effective water management. 'I'd never been to the Top End before, the scenery was just amazing and there was lots of different changing weather conditions over the 12 months I was working there,' she says. Elise says as part of her work on Project Sea Dragon the team relied on the Bureau's cyclone information and other water and climate products. The nearest sealed road to Legune Station is 70 km away, making the most convenient mode of transport helicopter during the wet season—which is where Elise was when she took this photo of an approaching thunderstorm—a moment that has successfully landed her in the Australian Weather Calendar.

The science

In the tropical region of the Top End (where this photo was taken) the seasons are broadly categorised into the 'dry' and the 'wet'—though the Indigenous peoples in the area recognise several more. The wet season begins in October and runs until the end of April each year. As the end of the year approaches, temperatures increase and a shift in the prevailing wind direction brings increased moisture from warm oceans to the north of Australia. Higher temperatures and increased humidity result in the development of thunderstorms, such as this one.