In the Media

Better Visibility on How Fog Forms in the Emirates

November 28, 2022

A deep dive into satellite data reveals factors that contribute to protracted fog events in the United Arab Emirates.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) commonly experiences intervals of heavy fog that can sometimes last for days, disrupting air and automobile traffic in the process. A new study, led by Diana Francis at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, explores the atmospheric factors that lead to these protracted periods of fog, and uncovers indicators that may help predict such events in the future.


Although fog events are most common in the winter, they can occur year-round, and are particularly intense in the area around Abu Dhabi International Airport, which is immediately adjacent to a vast expanse of desert. When Francis first moved from Europe to the UAE in 2020, she was taken aback by the intensity of this fog. “I expected the climate to be dry year-round, being an arid country,” she says.


The local factors influencing these weather patterns are reasonably well understood. During the day, moist air from the coast travels inland, where it then becomes trapped overnight as the surface of the land cools rapidly. However, little is known about the larger-scale phenomena informing this process, and Francis and colleagues analyzed 35 years of meteorological data—from 1983 to 2018—to get a better handle on these factors.


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