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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

FOG

FOG

Cloud forest on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo (credit: Wiki-commons)

 

Along the West Coast of California, fog season starting is affectionately called June Gloom. Fog develops when warm air flows over cold ocean water. Fogs can be so dense they are easily seen by Earth monitoring satellites. Some people in California find the grey, overcast days annoying while others relish the cool mists as being magical when they appear from Spring into July. In locations as varied as San Francisco, London, and the Atacama Desert of Chile and Peru, fogs are especially prominent features.

   Marine fogs along coastal Atacama Desert with snow-covered Andes, Chile  (credit: NASA)

Fog allows for some of the most distinctive and biodiverse ecosystems on Earth to develop. This is especially true on tropical mountains which can become covered by cloud forests at higher elevations. Cloud forests are constantly bathed by condensing droplets from the water-saturated clouds. The trees effectively "mine" the fogs for water that constantly drips onto the forest floor. However, evidence is emerging that climate change is reducing the number and duration of foggy days in some cloud forests. This will have direct and negative consequences these fog-dependent ecosystems and the water supplies they supply provide to lowland communities.

One US Geological Service video illustrates the results of removing fog forests from one California Channel Island. A second shows how landforms affect fog movement through the Straits of Juan de Fuca as visualized with images captured by NOAA's GOES 16 satellite. You may discover that fog is far from gloomy, actually very important, and also beautiful. WHB

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