The Causes and Character of Haze


UNLIKE fog, haze commonly occurs in this country when the lower air is in a state of unusual dryness. It is not only a frequent accompaniment of a spell of fine dry weather, but may be, when in combination with certain other conditions, a sign of its approach. Night or morning fogs, and in winter persistent fogs, often signify a calm and settled condition of the air and the prevalence of fair weather. Heavy dews, especially in the autumn, likewise portend fine weather, but usually of shorter duration. Fogs appear usually in one of two conditions: either the air is nearly saturated up to a considerable height, or else is unusually dry, except in a stratum immediately above the ground. In the first case, radiation or condensation from some cause produces, by a slight lowering of temperature, a large precipitation of vapour; and in the second case, radiation from the earth's surface being excessive, owing to the diathermancy of the dry atmosphere, the stratum next the ground rapidly reaches its dew-point, fog is formed, and this fog continues to radiate to the clear sky and further to reduce temperature. Haze, on the other hand, appears often in weather distinguished by unusual dryness, on the surface as well as at a considerable altitude above the ground. The air remains for many days uniformly dry, the nights being nearly dewless, and the sky often free from clouds. The chief difference to be observed, then, is this, that fog requires saturation where it occurs, while haze seems to be favoured rather by a dry atmosphere.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

RUSSELL, F. The Causes and Character of Haze. Nature 41, 60–65 (1889).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.