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Is there a correlation between latent heat and fog formations?


Latent heat refers to energy used to evaporate water.

Most fogs form because the temperature drops below the temperature at which the air becomes saturated with water, droplets of water form, and either clouds or fog result.

However, there is something called an evaporation fog (normally referred to as steam fog), where cold air passes over warmer water, warmer wet ground, or "wet" snow. The cold (and typically drier, both in the absolute and relative sense) air causes an enhancement of evaporation from the water, ground, or snow and cools the humidified air, producing a shallow fog. This can often been seen over lakes and rivers especially during cold air outbreaks in the Autumn, or after a warm spell partially melts snow during winter.

David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory

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