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Sea mist can spoil the outing

BY Wijke Ruiter

Last week, when huge parts of Britain was sun drenched, with lovely temperatures above 20 C, some coastal regions stayed cold and misty.
Disappointment all over for sun lovers, packing parasols, beer and air-beds, for a nice day at the beach.A gray blanket and low clouds awaited them.

Why this mist and why doesn't it disappear with the heat of the sun, like every decent fog?

Mist develops during the night, when the ground cools down by radiation, which occurs during a clear night sky.

Cold air can contain less moist than warm air; so when cooling down the humidity grows as far as a critical point is reached.
The air will vaporize and mist is born.

The process will reverse by sunrise; the sun heats the air at the ground and mist vanishes, if the sun has enough strength to do so.

But at the coast is didn't disappear; in some cases it even spread. Is this another process then?

With southerlies warm, but moist air reached the UK, bringing pleasant weather and lovely temperatures.
But above sea there was a huge contrast between this warm airflow and the temperature of the seawater, which is still low about 10 C.

Right above the water level the air cools down, and like during nightly radiation, mist develops. But, unlike mist above land, this will not gradually disappear by sunrise.
This phenomenon provides beautiful satellite pictures, for example this on with mist in the Channel and the German Bight.
Mist at sea often occurs in springtime, when the seawater is cold after the winter season.

The beach, however, is not always disappointing. When on sunny days above land spring showers develop (see the special); on the beach people can be sunbathing.
And you'll be one of the few who knows this by reading our specials, so no crowded beaches for you in spring.

mailto:wijke@scribeweekly.com