Chemistry of fog

My favorite wanderers above the sea of fog

Fog has always been an almost mystical event for artists all over the world.

One of the most famous Romantic painting is the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich and the photo above is my personal reinterpretation of the piece of art.

What is fog?

Fog is an aerosol of condensed water droplets suspended in the air and causes a reduction of visibility to less than 1 kilometer. During nights with no or light wind, the earth’s surface loses heat into space.

How fog forms during night

The ground cools down and cools the air in the vicinity. Moisture in that lowest layer of air condenses to form water droplets and forms fog.

Fog, sea and daughter

Why is visibility reduced?

Visibility is reduced because fog scatters the light rays. In normal light conditions, the eye “sees” the image of an object because it reflects the light that hits it.

Light is deviated by the fog and doesn’t reach the eye, thus causing loss of visibility.

Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel?


  1. Very interesting! Fog is also an ecological driver here in California – our giant redwoods grow only within 50 miles of the coast, where they are drenched nightly in fog from the sea.


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