General Question

Blackberry's avatar

I need some help figuring out this meteorological phenomena?

Asked by Blackberry (31069points) April 13th, 2010

So there is some ground fog here at work (air traffic control tower). I know what makes fog occur, the temperature inversion (the warmer layer of air over the colder layer). But I’m having trouble figuring out exactly why. It rained a little today, but the clouds are gone. You can see the definite layer of warmer air, which means the level of air cold enough to condense water vapor is very thin. I think I’m maybe just having a brain fart, maybe someone can help me turn the light bulb back on.

Is it the rain evaporating back up into the atmosphere, but being condensed to mist closer to the ground because of the warm air above it? And how did that warmer air get above the colder air (or vice versa)?

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3 Answers

ShiningToast's avatar

I’m guessing the sun shines on the ground, water evaporates into the cold air layer above the ground, where it condenses into the fog you see.

dpworkin's avatar

Evaporative cooling might be making the lowest layer coolest. If the substrate under the rainwater is black, it will warm quickly and the fog will dissipate. If it has a higher albedo (whiter, more reflective) it can take longer.

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