How dense fog forms on Tampa Bay mornings

Weather

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Dense fog has formed in the early morning hours the past two days in Tampa Bay.

Fog is a cloud made up of water droplets suspended in the air that sits near the ground, but it forms slightly different than a cloud higher up in the sky.

During the day, the sun’s rays heat up the ground. At night, the heat absorbed in the ground during the day is released back into the atmosphere.

Near the surface lies a thin layer of moisture below drier air. The heat being released in the atmosphere travels through the thin layer of moisture quickly until it gets to the drier air layer above. The energy warms up the drier layer allowing the thin layer of moisture to cool.

The temperature of the layer near the surface will cool until it reaches the dew point temperature. Once this happens, the moisture in the air condenses out into water droplets that form the fog suspended near the ground.

When sunrise comes around, the sun’s rays will begin to warm the layer of air near the surface once again. As the temperature rises above the dew point, the fog will “burn off.” The water droplets are now evaporating back into the atmosphere.

The Tampa area sees about 10 to 20 dense fog days per year.

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