What's The Difference Between Fog And Mist?

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
What's The Difference Between Fog And Mist?

When you walk out of your door early in the morning, you must have noticed a thick white air that prevents you from seeing a few feet ahead of you. This is either fog or mist. Both fog and mist are created with water droplets, but they differ in density and locations. Here at, we are going to discuss about what the difference between fog and mist is.

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How fog and mist are formed

Fog is created when any type of cloud contacts with the ground. In lower areas like plains and valleys, a fog mass is formed just like the same way a cloud is formed under same temperature and wind conditions in the atmosphere. A cloud is formed when drops of water condense, and merge, but fail to grow in size, big enough to fall as rain. This cloud forms or drifts closer to the ground, particularly when humidity levels change or rise abruptly, or when the speed of wind drops, or changes acutely in direction.

Mist also gets formed with water droplets, but with lower coalescing or merging. This means that mist has lower density, and quickly dissipates when temperature, relative humidity or wind changes. Mist is formed due to abrupt changes in temperature, such as when you exhale in the cold air, high humidity levels, such as in a sauna, or due to condensation or evaporation.

How both affect visibility

Fog (top picture) is denser, and thus has greater effects on visibility. Mist (bottom picture) still allows a person to see as much as 2 kms ahead, but fog reduces visibility to under 1 km. Fog can be so dense that it can limit your visibility to as low as 50 meters, especially if it has been created with rapid humidity changes along with smoke.

What's The Difference Between Fog And Mist? - How both affect visibility

How both feel

When you are inside fog, you feel a little humid and cool, and things don’t seem as bright, depending on how dense it is. If you see it from the top of a mountain, it really looks like a cloud. But mist feels more like a rain, but with very little wetness. You can’t actually see the water raining, but when you go outside, you definitely get wet in a few minutes.

After receiving this info, you can clearly differentiate between fog and mist, and enjoy your day outside.

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  • Use windscreen wipers if you are driving in both fog or mist and remember to switch on your fog lights.

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