Difference Between Fog and Mist

Both are condensed water vapor clouds, i.e. water droplets, sitting on the surface of the earth in the atmosphere, somewhat restricting visibility. Mist has less impact on the visibility of the eye when compared to fog. The major difference between fog and mist is that the fog is a cloud-like mass and thick which has a layer of tiny droplets of water near the earth’s surface that has a greater impact on the visibility of the eye. On the other hand, the mist is the tiny water droplet’s cloud that spreads in the atmosphere which has less impact on the visibility of the eye.

Difference Between Fog and Mist in Tabular Form




The thick cloud hangs low, consisting of tiny water globules. Clouds due to change in temperature or change in humidity
High density Low density.
Greater impact on the visibility of the eye  Less impact on the visibility of the eye.
Visible up to 1 KM. Visible to more than 1 KM.
Longer duration. Short duration.

Fog Vs. Mist – Overview

It is sometimes difficult to compare the terms fog and mist. Mist and fog are created by water droplets. Location and density are only the difference between fog and mist. Fog has a larger density as compared to miss, therefore it lasts longer.

What is Fog?

Fog is a suspension in the air of very small water droplets that reduce the ground visibility to less than 1 kilometer. The water droplets are suspended by the turbulent movements of the air in the atmosphere. Actually, the fog is a cloud whose actually base touches the ground.

Types of Fog

there are four common types of fog:

  • Radiation fog
  • Freezing fog – a specific case of radiation fog
  • Advection fog
  • Evaporative fog

What is radiation fog?

radiation fog is occurred by nocturnal cooling of the earth’s surface, generally at the end of the night. It is typically terrestrial and can persist for several days in winter that dissipates in the morning under the action of solar radiation, starting at the base, sometimes evolving into a layer of low clouds.

What is Freezing fog?

It is a droplet’s mist mixture of supercooled water (in the liquid state at negative temperature, they freeze at the slightest contact). Icing fogs are caused by significant deposits on roads, safety barriers, but also on vegetation, power lines, etc.

What is Advection Fog?

Advection fog is rarely very dense (visibility rarely less than 100 m), while its vertical thickness is important that can form at any time of the day.  it is formed if a mass of warm, moist air moves over a relatively cool surface.

What is Evaporative Fog?

This fog is occurred on maritime surfaces, especially in autumn and winter. Evaporation fog is associated with the land breeze established at night which brings cold air over a hot and humid sea surface. It forms up to 5 miles from the coast, the limit of the influence of the land breeze.

What is Mist?

Mist can be defined as the clusters of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere or air, masking in a more or less opaque manner the sky, the surface of the ground, or the waters. It starts at over 1 kilometer, however. Mist is visible by the occurrence of condensation. Be careful not to confuse mist with fog concepts, that are denser. In Meteorology, the mist is represented by a whitish transparent mass but mire scattered than the fog which allows visibility between one and five KM.

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