It looks like there is a ‘chance’ of some big sunsets returning to QLD over the coming week – more so towards the end of the week as some favourable atmospheric conditions come together to produce the right setup on multiple days. Above image via HSC Admin Michelle.


Sunsets are one of those things that when they go off, they’re amazing – but from a forecasting perspective, the best of them either usually occur when conditions are on a knifes edge for being ‘epic’ or extremely underwhelming and this is because it often comes down purely to live conditions as the smallest hindering factor could change the outcome entirely. What we often look for is high level cloud (cirrus, cirrocumulus etc) that fills the sky but isn’t hindered by anything on the horizon. This will allow the bottom or underside of the cloud to be ignited when the sun is setting and the light has a free run between the horizon and the clouds. Any low level clouds can completely hinder this, and they don’t even need to be nearby – they can be 100s of km away. 

High cloud over Southern Inland QLD on Thursday morning. Image via Windy




This upcoming week though is showing good signs of producing the right conditions and it will just come down to the live conditions on the day as to whether or not one places sees a sea of red, orange, pink or yellow… and another place sees nothing. Models are indicating the arrival of a weak upper trough over Southern QLD on Wednesday night / Thursday morning which will help produce some localised high cloud over Southern Inland QLD (could be good for a Thursday morning sunrise). 

Upper cloud then spreads in bands across Inland QLD and Southern / Central QLD during Friday which may help produce a short lived, but intense sunset for Coastal areas and a more prolonged but possibly not quite as intense sunset over Inland areas. Saturday has some similar potential to Friday as well.

High cloud over various parts of QLD on Friday evening. Image via Windy.



The big one which we will monitor closely will be on Sunday evening and Monday morning when an upper trough across Southern and Western QLD and the Northern Territory produces a massive band of high cloud over the majority of the State. We have compiled a side by side view of the high cloud and low cloud which shows its virtually 100% high cloud and 0% low cloud and this may lead to numerous places seeing an amazing sunset on either Sunday night and/or on Monday morning (Jul 6).

Of course none of this is a guarantee, but it could be something to keep in the back of your mind from Wednesday through to the following Monday and hopefully one or two of the days can come off and offer some great photographic opportunities or a relaxing way to finish the work day or weekend!

High cloud (left), low cloud (right) across QLD on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Image via Windy.