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Fog and Cloud formation: How does air become saturated? North Sea Fog – a coloured visible satellite image.

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Presentation on theme: "Fog and Cloud formation: How does air become saturated? North Sea Fog – a coloured visible satellite image."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fog and Cloud formation: How does air become saturated? North Sea Fog – a coloured visible satellite image

2 Reading Ahrens 9 th ed., Chapter 5 Condensation: Dew, Fog, and Clouds, p110-121 (8 th Ed: Chapter 5, p106-116) Ahrens, 9 th ed., Chapter 6 Stability and Cloud Development, p151-157 (8 th Ed: Chapter 6: p149-155) My last lecture: condensation of cloud droplets (micro-scale) This lecture: specific conditions and processes that lead to condensation (macro-scale)

3 Dew, Frost, Haze and Fog (i)Dew: Common on vegetation early morning after a clear night. (b) Happens on clear nights because surface radiates heat and this is not trapped by a cloud cover. (c) Dew forms on vegetation because it cools more quickly than (say) a road surface; vegetation has a lower heat capacity per unit area. Dew formation releases latent heat, and this reduces the rate at which the surface cools. Therefore the dew point temperature is often the minimum night-time temperature. (a) How? Air is cooled to T d so becomes saturated.

4 (ii) Frost: Forms if dew point is below 0 ° C. This is now called the frost point. (a) White frost (or hoar frost) forms by ice deposition directly from the vapour, in the form of 6-sided crystals.

5 (iii) Haze: Dry haze is caused by particulate nuclei, which scatter light like the blue of the sky, and when there is some water deposition, the haze thickens and becomes wet haze. (b) Black frost (or black ice) forms when the dew point is just above 0 ° C so the dew forms first and subsequently freezes as temperature drops below 0 ° C. A layer of ice is formed without the creation of small crystallites.

6 (iv) FOG – defined when visibility < 1 km Fog is equivalent to a cloud at the surface. Fog forms in one of three ways: cooling the air evaporation of water into the air mixing of two air masses such that when combined, the mixture is saturated The types of fog are named with reference to the method by which the air becomes saturated.

7 ADVECTION FOG - air is cooled to saturation by having warm moist air moving over a cold surface.. San Francisco has a lot of advection fog since the surface water near the coast is much colder than the water farther off shore. Warm moist air from the Pacific Ocean is advected over the cold coastal waters, chilling the advected air from below.

8 UPSLOPE FOG - forms as moist air flows up an elevated plain, hill or mountain. As the air ascends, it expands, cools adiabatically (same as any ascending air), and saturates.

9 Temperature °C mixing ratio g kg -1 01020-10-2030 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 A T = 0 °C r = 3 g kg -1 B T = 30 °C r = 20 g kg -1 But at 15 ° C r s = 10.8 g kg -1 C T = 15 °C r = 11.5 g kg -1 EVAPORATION (or MIXING) FOG - formed by mixing two unsaturated air masses.

10 STEAM FOG - forms when cold air moves over warm water (e.g. heated outside swimming pool) water evaporates from the pool into the air, increasing the dew point and if mixing is sufficient the air above becomes saturated. The colder air directly above the water is heated from below and rises forming what appears to be steam.

11 RADIATION (GROUND) FOG - produced by the radiative cooling at the surface - common over land in late autumn and winter. - also form in low-lying areas. Favourable conditions: 1.clear (cloud-free) nights (cold), 2.shallow layer of moist air near the ground (e.g. recent rainfall, or near water body), 3.long nights, 4.light winds Radiation cooling takes place from the top of the fog layer; mixing continues in the fog layer, further cooling the ground surface.

12 VALLEY FOG. Cold air and high moisture content in river valleys make them susceptible to radiation fog. Radiation fogs form at the ground and are deepest around sunrise - sometimes an increase in thickness at sunrise due to the evaporation of dew supplying moisture to the fog

13 3 methods of cloud formation: 1. Cool air directly 2. Mix with colder air 3. Reduce pressure (adiabatic expansion and cooling) The rapid drop in pressure above an aircraft wing can result in sufficient adiabatic cooling to cause saturation

14 Orographic uplift Lee Wave clouds rotor or Lenticular clouds

15 As species: lenticularis

16 -will form ‘heap’ clouds e.g. cumulus and cumulonimbus. (may spread out if they reach an inversion, however to form St, Sc) Ascending thermals

17 Slantwise convection – forms most of the layered clouds such as Stratus. Gradient of the slope is about 1 in 100 or 200; thus air may move horizontally 200 km to ascend 1 km.

18 Geostrophic Wind: v g

19 Friction near the surface causes cross- isobar flow towards low pressure Sub-geostrophic wind, due to the effects of friction Cross-isobar flow towards low pressure


21 Clicker question Air tends to __X__ above an area of __Y__ pressure, causing clouds to __Z__. 1. X=ascend; Y=low; Z=form 2. X=descend; Y=low; Z=disperse 3. X=ascend; Y=high; Z=form 4. X=descend; Y=high; Z=disperse 5. Both 2 and 3 are correct 6. Both 1 and 4 are correct

22 Midnight (last night)

23 Convergence occurs in areas of low surface pressure – this is why cloud is usually associated with depressions and troughs. Conversely, fine weather tends to occur when pressure is high, as it is associated with subsidence and surface divergence.

24 Rising air cools at the DALR but the dew point drops (at a rate dependent on moisture content) but typically 2 °C/1000 m. Thus T a and T d approach each other at about 8 ° C per km. Ahrens Figure 7.16

25 Calculating cloud base height general rule for convective clouds is: cloud base  125 x (T surface -T d ) + 200 m

26 Hand-in assignment It’s important – worth 10% of overall mark, and 1/3 of coursework mark. Hand in by noon 9 th November to Helen McKeating, Crew 211. Include a signed ‘own work’ declaration. Penalties for late submission

27 Midnight (last night)

28 1200 Monday

29 0000 Tuesday

30 1200 Tuesday

31 0000 Thursday

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