Types of fog

mist formation

Fog is a type of meteorological phenomenon that arises in places with a fairly high humidity saturation. The only difference between the clouds that we can see in the sky and fog is that it occurs at ground level. There are different types of fog according to their formation and characteristics.

In this article we are going to tell you about the different types of fog that exist, what their characteristics and formation are.

presence of fog

types of fog

The appearance of fog in a certain place and time indicates that the water vapor present in the air has reached a state of saturation. The only difference between clouds and the fog that we see at a certain height in the sky is that the latter is at the level of the earth's surface (special case of the clouds of the genus Stratus). In both cases, we have a hydrometeor, which consists of a suspension of tiny, normally small, water droplets. Technically, when horizontal visibility is less than a kilometer, we speak of fog.

There are a variety of situations where fog can be created, but they all come down to two main formation mechanisms: cooling and evaporation. In the first case, when the temperature drops to the dew point, a phase change from gas to liquid occurs and droplets of fog begin to form, at the expense of the condensation of water vapor in the environment. Radiation fog or irradiance fog and advection fog are both cooling fogs, although they all have their own singularities and form in different environments.

Types of fog

types of fog there are

The typical fog that forms in the valleys and plateaus of the interior of the peninsula, preferably during the winter months, is radiant fog. Night cooling near the ground, where the air is calm in a stable atmosphere, causes these fogs to form wide banks, and under especially favorable conditions (previously full of humidity and low or very low temperatures, 0 to 5 ºC) especially durable. These clouds are static, unlike advection fog, which is created when large amounts of warm, moist air slide over a cold ocean or ground. In this case, they are typical coastal fogs that do not follow a day-night cycle and can erupt at any time of the year and at any time of the season.

Evaporation mechanisms also create sea fog, like most advection fog, but in this case the fog forms when water vapor from a relatively warm sea surface comes into contact with cooler air above it. . This fog is common in the polar seas and is known as "arctic smoke". evaporation as well it is a key process in the formation of some frontal fogs. Warm fronts sometimes drizzle and, in simple terms, it is common to identify both phenomena, without distinguishing between drizzle, very small raindrops and fog.

In fact, there is not much difference between the two types of meteors (drizzle and fog) as our raindrops are slightly larger than normal in the latter. Under the names of weeping fogs, meonas or chorreras, those fogs that are humid and subject to light precipitation are known.

Names given in different places

fog in london

There are dozens -perhaps a hundred- in Spain used to refer to the regionalism of fog or mist. On the one hand, there are variants of this pair of terms, such as nebra, niebria, nebría, niubrina or cloudy. Words like borrina, borrín or burriana were used for the Asturian land. We also find the last word with the gurriana form, and the Cantabrian variant (guarrina), where drizzle mixed with fog is recognized.

Among the strangest names for fog, on the one hand we have taró (or tarol). Originating in Phenicia, on the Costa del Sol and Campo de Gibraltar, they call this pattern a very persistent sea fog that forms mainly in summer and early autumn around the Strait of Gibraltar, sometimes spreading through the Alberan Sea. , due to the inlets coming from Africa. Dry winds from the south, which managed to evaporate a lot of water from the sea. Vessels crossing the strait must have audible signals to avoid possible collisions.

Another singular term is dorondón. They use it in Aragon to refer to a very thick and cold fog, freezing in many cases. The latter occurs at temperatures below 0 ºC. (the freezing point of water), where the droplets that form the fog supercool (in a phase transition state called subfusion), so when they hit anything, such as poles, fences, trees or bushes they freeze immediately, forming a layer of ice, and named hoarfrost. The result is a white landscape reminiscent of a snowfall, or a landscape that causes intense frost.

We finish our brief review of the nomenclature of fogs with some other terms, such as macazón, used internally in Cantabria to refer to low, closed fog, but which occupies only a small lot (library of fog), boira, the enhanced boirón (Serrablo region, in Alto Aragón) and his little boirina, in Catalonia, they use it to identify fog, and finally bufo or bufa, which takes its name from the low mountains of mist that rise from the valley, driven by the daytime breeze.

Other types of fog

Advection fog

Fog that forms when a moist air mass passes over a cooler surface is advection fog. Low surface temperatures lead to lower temperatures in moist air masses. This increases its relative humidity and causes the water vapor in the air to condense.

evaporation mist

Evaporation fog, or cold advection fog, is formed by the movement of cool, stable air over a much warmer body of water. As some of the hot water evaporates, the cold air above becomes saturated, and the water vapor condenses into cold air. This creates what is known as steam fog, sea of ​​smog or arctic sea smog.

mountain fog

Another type of fog is mountain fog, because the base of the cloud is lower than the top of the mountain.

front fog

Frontal fog forms when rain comes from warm air and falls on cold, stable air. If the wind is light, the evaporation of raindrops can saturate the air near the ground, creating fog.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the different types of fog and their characteristics.

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