Thursday, December 24, 2009

Freezing Fog


With the arrival of winter in Northern Nevada when there has been an overnight snow and the sun comes out the next morning, we will probably have a meteorological phenomenon known as freezing fog or Pogonip.

Freezing fog is a some what rare condition that occurs in the mountain valleys when the humidity is around 100%, the temperature is near freezing, and cool air passes over warm, moist land.


During the month of December 2009, we have been experiencing freezing fog or Pogonip quite often.

The word Pogonip came from the Shoshone word Payinappih meaning "cloud" or "white death", as the early English-speaking settlers termed it. Pogonip was called the white death because the fog can get so thick a person could become lost and disoriented in a manner of seconds. Additionally, prolonged breathing of the ice crystals can damage the lungs.

In freezing fog the water vapor is super-cooled, filling the air with small ice crystals similar to very light snow.

 The super-cooled water droplets remain in the liquid state until they come in contact with a surface upon which they can freeze.

As the frozen particles collect on a surface, white rime ice forms which is similar to the ice inside a freezer.

Freezing fog creates a beautiful effect of a winter wonderland with the layers of frosty ice all around.

As beautiful as it appears, it can also be very dangerous when driving, walking or during prolonged exposure.

For more information follow this link:

What an exciting and interesting photo-adventure this day has been.  I love it when I am drawn to an area and not knowing what to expect I get treated to new experiences. 

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