Fog is a collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth’s surface. The term “fog” is typically distinguished from the more generic term “cloud” in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes).
Fog is distinguished from mist only by its visibility, as expressed in the resulting decrease in visibility: Fog reduces visibility to less than 1 km (5/8 statute mile), whereas mist reduces visibility to no less than 1 km.
For aviation purposes in the UK, a visibility of less than 5 km but greater than 999 m is considered to be mist if the relative humidity is 70% or greater – below 70% haze is reported.
The foggiest place in the world is the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland, the meeting place of the cold Labrador Current from the north and the much warmer Gulf Stream from the south. Some of the foggiest land areas in the world include Argentia, Newfoundland, and Point Reyes, California, each with over 200 foggy days per year. Even in generally warmer southern Europe, thick fog and localized fog is often found in lowlands and valleys, such as the lower part of the Po Valley and the Arno and Tiber valleys in Italy or Ebro Valley in northeastern Spain, as well as on the Swiss plateau, especially in the Seeland area, in late autumn and winter. Other notably foggy areas include Hamilton, New Zealand, coastal Chile (in the south), coastal Namibia, Nord, Greenland, and the Severnaya Zemlya islands.