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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.



Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, June 21, 2017/Categories: natural history, video, sustainability, environment

                                        Cloud Forest on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo (credit: Wiki-commons)

Along the West Coast, it is now the fog season affectionally known as June Gloom. Fog occurs when warm air flows over cold water and can be so dense it can be photographed by satellites. Some people in California find the foggy, overcast, days annoying while others relish the cool mists as magical when they seasonally appear. In some places like San Francisco, London, and the Atacama Desert of Peru and Chile, dense fogs are especially prominent landscape features.


                                Marine Fog, Atacama Desert, Peru  (credit: NASA)

Fog allows for some of the most remarkably distinct and biodiverse ecosystems on Earth to develop, particularly on mountains in the tropics that can become covered by cloud forests . In these forests, trees and plants are constantly bathed by condensing droplets from the water-saturated clouds. The forest effectively "mines" the fog for water. Evidence is emerging that climate change is reducing the duration of foggy days in some cloud forests. This will have direct and negative consequences to the biodiversity of these fog-dependent ecosystems.

A US Geological Service video illustrates the results of removing fog forests from one California Channel Island. Another shows how landforms affect fog movement through Washington's Strait of Juan de Fuca visualized in images taken by NOAA's new GOES 16 satellite.

You may discover that fog is far from gloomy, actually very important, and beautiful.



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