Due to the Weather: Ways the Elements Affect Our Lives

By Abraham Resnick | Go to book overview

6
FOG

Fog is essentially a cloud at the earth's surface, or sometimes just a few feet above. It consists of numerous small droplets of water, not readily or clearly perceived by the naked eye. Fog is the one element of nature that still baffles man. When it shrouds an area, it envelops everything in a kind of gray vapor, dimming or blurring the vision. Fog can be dense when objects are obscured at a thousand feet or less. Light fog has increased, but still hindered, visibility. Fog begins to develop when the air is cooled below its dew, or saturation, point, which is a temperature below the capacity of the air to hold water. Fog can form on land or sea.

During clear nights heat absorbed by the ground during the day escapes rapidly or radiates into the atmosphere, usually late in the afternoon. This chills the air near the ground to dew point and results in a still fog called radiation fog. This type of fog develops when there is moisture in the air and wind speeds are calm or light. Another kind of fog is known as advection fog. This classification forms when warm air blows across a cold land or water surface. The air is chilled and the moisture condenses as fog. Radiation fog is often found in valleys where winter moisture gets trapped within the valley walls. Advection fog tends to occur when moist air passes over a colder surface, such as a cold ocean current, or over an area covered by ice or snow. It is possible for a sky to be observed during a ground fog settling in a low lying area or mountain hollow.


EFFECTS OF FOG

Fog can cause considerable anxiety and disruption for people engaged in normal living activities. They have lost time caused by traffic delays. Trains and other forms of public transportation have had to be canceled or rescheduled. Highways have either been closed or had their speed limits reduced during thick fog conditions. Sometimes airports are shut.

-39-

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