Sea fog can lead to inland fog on the southern China coast, affecting visibility on land. To better understand how such fog influences inland visibility, we observed two sea-fog cases at three sites (over sea, at coast, and inland) and analyzed the results here. Our analysis suggests four factors may be key: (1) The synoptic pattern is the decisive factor determining whether fog forms inland. First, sea fog and low clouds form when the synoptic pattern involves warm, moist air moving from a warmer sea-surface temperature (SST) region to a colder SST region near the coast. Then, inland fog tends to occur under this low-cloud background with relatively large horizontal-vapor transport. A greater horizontal-vapor transport results in denser fog with higher liquid-water content. Conversely, a strong horizontal advection of temperature with less horizontal-vapor transport can hinder inland-fog formation. (2) Local cooling (including ground radiative cooling) helps promote inland fog formation. (3) Fog formation requires low wind speed and small turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). The small TKE helps the vapor accumulate close to the surface and maintain the local cooling effect. (4) Fog formation is promoted by having the energy flux downward at night with the land surface cooling the atmosphere as well as having lower soil temperature and higher soil humidity.
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