Fogbow in Toowoomba, Queensland: What is this rare ‘white-rainbow’ over the Australian sky?
A rare ‘white rainbow’ is spotted over Australia’s cold winter skies – so what explains the strange occurrence?
- A little-known weather phenomenon brightened up an otherwise frigid morning
- The BOM took a photo of the ‘fog arch’ at Toowoomba in Queensland
- The silvery hue makes it look a little different from a rainbow and less common
- The weather conditions have to be absolutely perfect to create a fog arch
A rare and stunning weather phenomenon has been observed in Queensland as Australia experiences a widespread cold spell.
The ‘fog arc’ seen near Toowoomba occurs when soft, silver, semi-halo shapes are formed by heavy amounts of fog rolling in directly opposite the sun.
The foggy phenomenon occurs for similar reasons to a rainbow, but the lighter fog droplets scatter the sunlight, stripping the fog arch of most of its color.
The ‘fog arch’ was captured by a Bureau of Meteorology weather camera just outside Toowoomba (pictured)
Rare low spring snow fell in the hills above Hobart, leaving a table and beer in a soft layer of snow (photo)
“An unusual sight on the Toowoomba weather camera this morning. Not only is there freezing fog (fog at temperatures below 0C), but there is also a fog arc.
‘An icy fogbow! A fogbow is the less colorful cousin of a rainbow,” the BOM said when posting the picture from the Toowoomba weather camera.
Fog forms just like clouds, except at low levels in the atmosphere when temperatures drop and moisture in the air begins to turn into water droplets, the BOM explained on its website.
Australia has howled freezing temperatures as low as -6.5C overnight amid warnings that freezing temperatures will continue (pictured, woman crossing pedestrian near Katoomba, NSW)
It needs the perfect amount of moisture in the air, a light wind and a high pressure system to form fog,
A fog arch then occurs when sun rays are refracted and reflected by water droplets in the foggy air, but the smaller size of fog droplets compared to raindrops results in smaller amounts of refraction and reflection.
Due to the smaller refractions and reflections, the color is much less pronounced and the fogbow radiates a silvery white color instead.
Fog can occur at any time of the year, but is most common in Australia during the winter months, according to the BOM.
The stunning atmospheric spectacle got many people excited, some calling ‘fog arch’ the scientific buzzword of the day.
Nighttime temperatures across the country dropped to -6.5C, with word that freezing temperatures will persist as a barrage of cold fronts continues to attack the southeastern part of the country.
An icy Arctic explosion is sweeping Australia, forcing the mercury to plummet, leading to some of the coldest winter starts in decades in parts of the country
The central western region of New South Wales also experienced snowfall, with a light cloud of dust on a golf course in Blayney (pictured)
Snowfall in some parts of Australia means an early start to the ski season.
As a result of the way air circulates around weather systems in Australia, the cold fronts crossing the south of the country have meant warm winds for the top. June temperatures in parts of the north are record highs.
Meteorologist Helen Reid said it was “unusual” for temperatures to drop so low so early in the winter.
“It’s usually the last week of June when we get temperatures that cold, so it’s unusual to have it that cold in early June,” she said.
For the rest of the week, Brisbane will see lows of 6°C – the lowest temperatures the city has seen in early June since 1904 – while parts of NSW will remain covered in snow.
The Northern Territory will remain warm through the end of the week with highs of 32C for Darwin.
Five day weather forecast for all of Australia
Friday: Max 17C (sunny)
Saturday: Min 9C, Max 16C (gets windy)
Sunday: Min 9C, Max 17C (windy)
Monday: Min 6C, Max 15C (partly cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 5C, Max 16C (mostly sunny)
Friday: Max 18C (sunny)
Saturday: Min 6C, Max 19C (sunny)
Sunday: Min 8C, Max 19C (partly cloudy)
Monday: Min 8C, Max 19C (partly cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 9C, Max 21C (partly cloudy)
Friday: Max 16C (showers)
Saturday: Min 9C, Max 15C (possible shower)
Sunday: Min 9C, Max 15C (shower or two)
Monday: Min 8C, Max 15C (cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 7C, Max 16C (partly cloudy)
Friday: Max 12C (partly cloudy)
Saturday: Min 1C, Max 10C (partly cloudy)
Sunday: Min 3C, Max 10C (shower or two)
Monday: Min -3C, Max 10C (mostly sunny)
Tuesday: Min -5C, Max 9C (mostly sunny)
Friday: Max 14C (shower or two)
Saturday: Min 8C, Max 13C (showers developing)
Sunday: Min 9C, Max 11C (showers abate)
Monday: Min 7C, Max 12C (cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 5C, Max 12C (partly cloudy)
Friday: Max 22C (showers, possible thunderstorms)
Saturday: Min 13C, Max 22C (showers)
Sunday: Min 12C, Max 20C (showers)
Monday: Min 11C, Max 20C (showers)
Tuesday: Min 11C, Max 20C (showers)
Friday: Min 9C (showers)
Saturday: Min 4C, Max 11C (showers, windy)
Sunday: Min 2C, Max 9C (showers, decreasing wind)
Monday: Min 4C, Max 10C (cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 3C, Max 11C (partly cloudy)
Friday: Max 32C (mostly sunny)
Saturday: Min 19C, Max 31C (sunny)
Sunday: Min 19C, Max 32C (sunny)
Monday: Min 20C, Max 32C (sunny)
Tuesday: Min 20C, Max 32C (mostly sunny)