Why is there no mist entering a room?

Climate changeWafts of mist clear yourself

Fog is part of autumn like the colorful leaves of the trees. But climate researchers say that this hazy weather phenomenon is becoming increasingly rare.

For 30 years, meteorologists in Germany have been observing that there is less fog. Otto Klemm is a climate researcher and fog expert at the University of M√ľnster and has collected data from weather stations and services, airports and private observers. These data go back to a period of 20 to 30 years and sometimes document changes in the weather every hour.

"It varies a lot, but in Europe the frequency of fog has halved in the last 30 years."
Otto Klemm, climate researcher and fog expert

The phenomenon of the disappearing fog occurs not only in Europe, but worldwide. In Los Angeles, says Otto Klemm, there were around 250 foggy days a year in the 1950s. Today there are only about 30. This shows that the decrease in fog is very massive in certain places.

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Climate change could be responsible for the decrease in fog. The air is getting warmer as a result of climate change, especially the nights are warmer, which means that the tendency towards fog formation decreases because warm air binds more moisture. Fog is created when the air cools down. The cooler air cannot contain that much water vapor, so the water vapor condenses and forms droplets.

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Less fog thanks to cleaner air

Another reason the mist is disappearing could be cleaner air. In Europe there are now fewer condensation core particles in the air on which the mist droplets can form. This phenomenon also occurs in China, explains Otto Klemm, although the air pollution there is far greater than it is here. Although economic activity has increased significantly and, as a result, air pollution, too, according to Otto Klemm, environmental awareness has also grown to the same extent. This environmental awareness is developing much faster in China today than it was in Europe or the USA 50 or 100 years ago.

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"Here in north-west Germany there are already fog layers at this time of the year, and there will always be."
Otto Klemm, climate researcher and fog expert

The disappearance of fog benefits most of the conditions on earth, says Otto Klemm. Unless there are special eco-systems that pull their moisture out of the fog, such as the Californian coastal sequoia, which bridge the dry seasons with fog droplets that they absorb through their leaves. However, the decline does not mean that the fog will have completely disappeared at some point. Where the fog is very frequent and the conditions are favorable for the formation of fog, as in the Scottish Highlands, fog will always appear.

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