Difference Between Fog and Mist (With Table)

In different climatic conditions, several different things can be noticed in the environment. For example, during the monsoon, the moisture is high in the air. Just like these during cold climate or winter season, mostly mists and fog can be seen in the environment. People use these terms interchangeably, which is not correct as they have different names and they are not synonyms. The confusion between both mist and fog is due to a lack of general knowledge and similarities between both of them. It is important to understand the differences between these to know how and when they appear. Following are some of the important differences, along with other information on fog and mist.

Fog vs Mist

The difference between Fog and Mist is that fog is higher in density and longevity, it is made up of thick layer and can survive for hours, and it is the result of slow winds, it can be easily visible for a longer duration and has many types (as many processes lead to the formation of it, whereas Mist is a thin layer and is quite the opposite of fog in terms of density and longevity and it has not to type.

Fog is the climatic condition under which water droplets formed in the atmosphere and seem like clouds. The water molecules are hanged very close to the earth’s surface. Fog can be of various types, such as Radiation Fog, Advection Fog, Steam Fog, Upslope Fog, Precipitation Fog, and Freezing Fog, etc. it is dangerous to walk or drive during this as things are not visible clearly, and this might cause accidents.

Mist is also a climate condition like fog, or in simple terms, it is like a thin layer of fog. It mostly formed due to sudden changes in climatic changes, especially the weather becomes cold. It can be easily formed when warm air is breath out from the mouth in winter or cold climates. It is possible to drive and walk freely on the road as it gets vanished due to fast and strong wind.

Comparison Table Between Fog and Mist

Parameters of ComparisonFogMist
TypesHas typesDon’t have types
ResilienceMoreLess
Duration LongShort
VisibilityLess distanceMore distance
DensityHighLow

What is Fog?

Many factors lead to the formation of fog, and this is also the reason there are many types of fogs:

  1. Upslope fog: it is the type of fog formed when air rises from mountain slopes.
  2. Freezing Fog: this fog is formed when the cool droplets touched or come in contact with the surface.
  3. Hail Fog: it is responsible for the temperature change and is caused in areas where hale is present.

There are other types of fog as well, but these are the main types that can be seen or found easily or more commonly.

It is formed by the difference between dew point, and air temperature is less than 4 2.5 degrees Celsius. It is more common near large bodies of water and is responsible for producing precipitation and light snow sometimes. It is not visible clearly during fog, and therefore driving through this is considered dangerous as sometimes you cannot see the vehicle coming. Therefore driving slow with headlights on is recommended, along with maintaining distance.

On earth, Canada is a place that faces fog the most due to its weather and climatic conditions. There are certain machines used for the formation of artificial fog.

What is Mist?

Mist is a climatic condition that is often confused with fog, and up to a certain extent, it is correct to say mist is nothing but a thin layer of fog. It is mainly formed when warm air comes in contact with the cold surface. There is a mist that is formed due to volcanic activities, and this is known as volcanic mists. While as mentioned above, driving during fog is dangerous and should be avoided in most cases. But it is not the same in case of mists as most of the time vehicles coming and passing can be seen easily and therefore this condition is easy to drive in.

A large and strong wind can lead to the disappearance of mists in few minutes. Hence, in a place where the wind is normally at high and fast speed, there are low chances of forming mists. It is also formed when the person breathes out warm air in cold weather.

Main Differences Between Fog and Mist

  1. Fog is a cloud near the earth’s surface due to water droplets. There are more than 5 types of fogs mainly formed due to cold droplets coming in contact with warm substances, while the mist is also a cloud-like climatic condition where droplets are formed near the earth, but it does not have any type.
  2. In terms of resilience, fog is more resilient as it can resist certain factors such as sun and air or in general heat in comparison to mist, whereas mist cannot survive fast wind and heat, and therefore it is far less resilient than fog.
  3. Both of them cannot survive more than few hours, but when compared, fog can survive for a relatively longer duration as it is a thick layer of water droplets, whereas mist cannot survive longer than fog. It is a very thin layer of fog or water globules and can get easily vanished.
  4. They also differ in terms of visibility fog cannot be seen for a longer duration. It is mostly visible to up to 1 km of distance only after that it starts disappearing, whereas mist can be seen for a longer distance than fog, it is easily visible for more than 1 km distance.
  5. Lastly, they are different when it comes to density. The density of fog is higher in comparison. This is also one of the reasons it can resists factors and exists for a longer duration period, whereas mist is relatively less in density and hence cannot resists and exists for a shorter duration.

Conclusion 

Therefore with all the above information, there should not be any confusion between them. They are similar as they are formed by condensed water vapor and appear like clouds hanging above the grounds in the atmosphere. The difference can be easily made by seeing them in case you are aware of their characteristics in general, but otherwise, they can be very confusing. They can be easily seen during the winter season, especially during the night and early morning time. Otherwise, in summer or hot climates, water vapor is not condensed, and therefore, these clouds cannot be formed. As soon as the sunlight comes, condensed water vapor starts disappearing.

References 

  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-RDQX201102001.htm
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7163242/
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00123193
x
2D vs 3D