Earth’s atmosphere contains all kinds of particles. Sometimes, those particles limit people’s ability to see. When moisture in the air limits visibility, it’s in the form of fog or mist. Most of the time, people can’t see the water vapor in the air. But when the vapor cools quickly, it becomes visible. This often happens when warm air vapor comes in contact with cooler surfaces like land or the ocean. Then, fog or mist hangs in the air, making it harder for people to see objects farther away.
The difference between the two (mist and fog) depends on how well you can see. Mist is less dense than fog. If you can’t see beyond one kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) in front of you, it’s fog that’s clouding your vision. If you can see more than that, it’s just mist.
What is Fog?
Fog can be described as a thick layer of cloud composed of small droplets of water suspended in the air. Fog is sufficiently dense to reduce horizontal visibility to less than 1km (1000 meters).
Fog actually forms close to the Earth where we see it. The same scientific processes that usually happen way up high in the atmosphere to create clouds can take place closer to the ground. When they do, we get fog.
Basically, fog forms when warm air meets colder air. When this happens, water vapor in the air — a gas — is cooled enough for the gas to turn to a liquid in the form of tiny water droplets. This process is called “condensation.”
We see those groups of tiny droplets as clouds or, when they’re close to the ground, as fog. As the air heats up again, fog will slowly disappear as the tiny water droplets once again return to a gas in the form of water vapor.
What is Mist?
Mist is defined as the layer of cloud that is created out of small water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at ground level due to changes in the level of temperature and humidity.
Mist is most commonly seen where warm, moist air meets sudden cooling, such as in exhaled air in the winter, or when throwing water onto the hot stove of a sauna. It can be created artificially with aerosol canisters if the humidity and temperature conditions are right.
It can also occur as part of natural weather, when humid air cools rapidly, notably when the air comes into contact with surfaces that are much cooler than the air.
Mist Vs Fog: Where is the difference?
The main difference between mist and fog is visibility. If less than 1 kilometer (1000 meters) of distance is visible, the conditions are referred to as fog. The thinner the veil of water vapor, the closer it is to being considered mist. Another significant distinction between the two is that mist moves through the air and dissipates fairly quickly, but a fog can tend to stay in the air for hours at a time.
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Difference Between Fog And Mist In Tabular Form
|BASIS OF COMPARISON
|Fog can be described as a thick layer of cloud composed of small droplets of water suspended in the air.
|Mist is defined as the layer of cloud that is created out of small water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at ground level due to changes in the level of temperature and humidity.
|It persists for a longer period of time.
|The duration of mist is comparatively shorter than fog.
|The density of fog is always very high.
|It is generally less dense than fog.
|It is visible for less than one kilometer.
|It is visible between one to two kilometers.
|Suspension of fog appears higher above the ground.
|The suspension of mist is typically at ground level.
|The visibility in fog is lower when compared to mist.
|The visibility in mist is higher when compared to fog.
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What You Need To Know About Mist And Fog
- Fog is when you can see less than 1000 meters away, but if you can see further than 1000 meters, it is then referred to as mist.
- Mist is the result of the suspension of water droplets, but it’s simply at a lower density.
- Mist is typically quicker to dissipate and it can rapidly disappear with even slight winds.
- Mist is also what you see when you can see your breath on a cold day.
- Generally, fog is denser and thicker than mist.
- Fog is more resilient as it can survive under factors such as sun, air or heat however, mist cannot survive fast wind and heat.