Clouds and fog both type when water vapor condenses or freezes to kind tiny droplets or crystals in the air, however clouds can form at many different altitudes if fog only develops near the ground.

Both fog and clouds are developed when water vapor condenses or freezes to type tiny droplets or crystals in the air. For this reason why are they two different things?

Fog creates only at low altitudes.

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Clouds can type at numerous different altitudes. They can be together high as 12 miles above sea level or as low as the ground. Fog is a sort of cloud that touches the ground. Fog develops when the air near the floor cools sufficient to turn its water vapor into liquid water or ice.


fog consists a landscape area

A cool December fog. Photo Credit: Jonathan Zander


There are countless different species of fog, too. Ice fog creates when the air near the floor is cold sufficient to revolve the water in fog into ice crystals. Ice cream fog creates only at extremely cold temperatures. Ice fog is typical in components of Alaska and also Canada.

Another kind of fog is freeze fog. Ice cream crystals kind in the air as soon as it’s cold enough and also particles like dust or acting in the air provide a “seed” for the ice decision to kind around. Occasionally it is cold enough, however the wait does not have any type of particles. In this case, water in the air becomes “supercooled.” This supercooled water is a liquid, yet it is cooler than the freezing point (32ºF). When it come into call with cold surfaces such as roads and sidewalks, it instantly develops a attention icy layer.

One the the most troubling type of fog is referred to as “super fog.” super fog creates when smoke native wildfires and water vapor come together to kind an extremely thick fog. The smoke offers particles because that the water vapor to condense around. This combination of smoke and also water vapor is a attention one. A at sight fog is so thick that you would certainly not have the ability to see your very own hand in prior of her face. Superfogs create very hazardous driving conditions.


An image of a massive auto accident caused by a superfog

Fog can be a large problem because that humans, particularly when we need to drive or fly through it.

How deserve to we prepare for fog?

Thousands of driving accidents happen every year because of fog. Fog likewise creates problem for wait travelers. Foggy problems create dangerous flying conditions and can hold-up or release flights.

Pilots and drivers can acquire some assist from space, though. Two species of satellites native the national Oceanic and also Atmospheric administration (NOAA) monitor fog from high in the sky. The very first is called a geostationary satellite. These satellites orbit planet in the same exact time the it takes for earth to make a full rotation. Orbiting planet in together a way allows the satellite to float over one location, offering a bird"s eye view.

The second kind is a polar satellite. The orbits of these satellites cross end each the the poles. Earth rotates under these satellites as they do the pilgrimage from pole come pole. Since the planet rotates when the satellite renders its orbit, the is able come see nearly every part of earth’s surface.

NOAA is developing a brand-new generation of geostationary and polar satellites. This satellites will have the ability to take an extremely high-resolution image of clouds and fogs. This information can tell pilots or chauffeurs where to intend fog, and can assist save lives.

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a to compare of low resolution and also high resolution fog prediction images

Satellite data deserve to be offered to predict the likelihood the fog forming. Existing geostationary and polar satellites, however, are capable only of developing a low-resolution picture, choose the image on the left. The following generation that geostationary and also polar satellites, the GOES-R collection and JPSS, will be able to produce a much an ext detailed and also accurate image, choose the picture on the right.