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fog UPSC NOTE

 What is fog?

  • A fog is a collection of small droplets of water produced when evaporated water has cooled down and condensed

  • Fog is nothing but a thick cloud, but very close to the earth’s surface

  • For a thick fog to form, temperatures should be lower and abundant moisture should be available near the surface.”

  • Fog materialises whenever there is a temperature disparity between the ground and the air

  • This happens frequently during Indian winters  fog is created when the temperature drops at

night and in the early morning, aerosols present in the atmosphere condense

  • High humidity, combined with an ample presence of water vapour or moisture, encourages foggy conditions.

  • The process by which it cools plays a pivotal role in the formation of fog. 

  • One primary mechanism contributing to fog formation is called infrared cooling

  • It typically occurs when the weather is transitioning from summer to winter

  • In the summer, the ground absorbs radiation from the sun, becomes warmer, and moistens the air passing over it. 

  • When cooler weather kicks in, this mass of warm, moist air comes in contact with processes that cool it. 

  • The ‘collision’ prompts the water vapour in the air to condense rapidly, giving rise to fog.

  • Another type of fog, known as radiation fog, is prevalent and occurs when an unseasonably warm day with high humidity is followed by rapidly dropping temperatures.

  • The specific type of fog, its duration, and its effects are contingent on various environmental conditions.

What are the factors which contribute to the formation of fogs?

  • The entire Indo-Gangetic plains are prone to formation of fog during winter season, as all the conditions — low temperatures, low wind speed, moisture availability and plenty of aerosols — are present in this region.

  • Moisture incursion into this region can happen once a Western Disturbance — a precipational pattern that brings rain to north India during winter months — moves across northern parts

  • The fog’s principal effect was on air travel: nearly 450 flights were delayed or cancelled on December 27 at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport as a dense layer of fog enveloped the city. 

  • On December 29 and 30, almost a 100 and 80 flights, respectively, were delayed from Delhi. 

  • The arrival and departure of several Delhi-bound trains were also delayed by poor visibility and dense fog on December 29.

  • The Hindu reported on December 29 that at least eight trains that were supposed to have reached the national capital the previous night didn’t, 

while a few trains scheduled to reach on the morning of December 29 had been delayed by a few hours.

Why is northern India prone to fogging?

  • According to weather reports in late December 2023, minimum temperatures in Punjab, Haryana, and the northern reaches of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh hovered around 6-9 degrees Celsius. 

  • In New Delhi, south Rajasthan, and north Madhya Pradesh, some places recorded minimum temperatures in the range of 10-12 degrees Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

  • At the same time, most of North India also experienced a dense fog that reduced visibility in many areas to as little as 50 metres for several days

  • Haryana, including Chandigarh, plus isolated pockets of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh reported fog with visibility reduced to under 200 metres. 

  • Other States including Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand also reported fog for a few hours in the morning, the IMD reported.


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