Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Ice Fog

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I wrote about ice fog back when I visited Carol Kilgore's Under the Tiki Hut blog back in March. In the interest of time, I'm just going to share what I wrote for my post on Carol's page again here:

One of the most interesting things I learned about winter in Fairbanks is the presence of ice fog. Ice fog occurs when the air is simply too cold (usually -40 degrees or colder) to absorb the moisture that comes from things such as car exhausts or even human breath. Instead of dissipating into the atmosphere the moisture turns into fine ice crystals that are suspended in the air. Apparently the early settlers in Alaska called the fog “white death” because they believed the crystals could get into their lungs and kill them. I thought it was such a creepy phenomenon that I simply had to include it in my novel.
I've never experienced temperatures anywhere close to that cold, as the lowest recorded temperature in Cincinnati history is -16 degrees, and that was in 1936. So I can't even begin to imagine what ice fog would be like. And I sincerely hope it's not something I ever actually experience. Yikes!


My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.

52 comments:

  1. I had to google the lowest temp.in Buffalo and it was -20 degrees back in 1934. Ice fog doesn't sound good for taking a decent breath.

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  2. Wowee - that's creepy but awesome. I love this place :)

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  3. I guess you have to be pretty tough to live in a place where "white death" might get ya. I look forward to visiting Alaska some day, but it will definitely be in the summer.

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  4. I would be afraid to breathe O_O

    It doesn't get that cold in TN, although I distinctly remember it being something like 12 degrees outside once. Even still, no weird things like ice fog.

    Sam
    Writing Through College

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  5. Wouldn't want to get caught in one of those.

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  6. I remember reading about this on Carole's blog. Fascinating and scary.

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  7. Oh my gosh... I think my lungs are frozen just from reading about -40degrees. OUCH!

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  8. Hi Julie .. I can feel "the cold" from your description - and can imagine the pioneers misunderstanding the phenomenon ...

    Very frightening .. cheers Hilary

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  9. Brrrr....No wonder they called it "white death!" I feel like getting under the covers with a mug of hot chocolate after reading this.

    Julie

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  10. You're making me cold! Great picture, though!

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  11. Wow, that's gorgeous!

    I hate the cold.

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  12. I hate to admit it, but where I live has been dubiously recognized as the third coldest area in the US, just behind Anchorage, I believe. It's not all that unusual, in the dead of winter, to sink to -20 or -30 temps. When it gets to be +20 or +30 you might see the kids in shorts-- after, all that's a 40 to 60 degree jump in temps!

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  13. i bet taking a breath would be like swallowing knives!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  14. Here in Mexico City when we're below 0 (among 1-2) we're dying. Don't think I could bear anything cold enough to make my breath ice.

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  15. One of the characters in my WIP comes from Alaska and your posts have helped me tons. Ice fog - I'd never heard of it. Spooky indeed.

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  16. @Alex, weird and also kind of gross I would think.

    @Cathrina, oh, I would have guessed colder than that for Buffalo. Not that -20 isn't cold enough LOL.

    @Trisha, I do too!

    @Tim, yeah I would definitely only go in the summer.

    @Samantha, yeah, I would think this fog must be pretty rare.

    @Sheena-kay, me neither!

    @LD, thanks! I totally agree.

    @SK, I know, it even sounds painful.

    @Hilary, I know, it's easy to see how the pioneers got so freaked about it.

    @Julie, it's really hot here today so it was fun to revisit this just for a minute!

    @Morgan, I'm sorry! Thanks though LOL.

    @Theresa, I thought it was so pretty too.

    @Julie, I can't imagine the cold where you live, but the area does look so gorgeous from your pics.

    @nutschell, that gives me the chills just to imagine!

    @Al, honestly we're dying around here when it gets below 0 too. It doesn't happen very often, thank goodness.

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  17. @Susan, oh, that's awesome! I'm anxious to read that book when you have it out. :)

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  18. To be lost in an ice fog would be doubly dangerous.

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  19. Any sort of fog is creepy...especially ice fog!

    I hate driving through the stuff, too. The Tennessee mountains are notorious for the stuff.

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  20. That ice fog is creepy and I see how it would be great in a novel. Wimpy me thinks it is cold it it gets to 70 degrees down here in southwest Florida. Great post and worth repeating to go with your "I". Happy A-Z posting.

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  21. Thanks for visiting me today! Ice fog I am sure is beautiful

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  22. @Susan, that's scary just to think about.

    @Mark, yeah, I also hate driving in fog. Can't imagine this.

    @jtailele, thanks, so nice to meet you! Thanks for coming by. :)

    @Paula, my pleasure, thank you for stopping by here. :)

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  23. I hope I never experience ice fog either. I'm sure it's beyond creepy.

    Thanks for the shout out :)

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  24. I reckon that's the definition of breath-taking!

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  25. How weirdly fascinating. I never knew ice fog was actually a real thing!

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  26. It's 80F here and you made me shiver! I can't imagine seeing something like that. It would seem haunted to me.

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  27. It made my lungs hurt just reading about this. Those with Asthma must have a really hard time breathing in the winter.

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  28. Holy wow. From the pic, it's cool to see, but it doesn't sound fun to try to breathe during it!

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  29. Fascinating. We get freezing fog, but I don't think we've ever had ice fog. I'm not sure I want to know it. :)

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  30. The ice fog actually sounds pretty neat. Too bad you have to brave such cold weather to see it.

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  31. I think it would be unhealthy to breathe in air that cold. It seems like I remember that most people wear scarves or other things over their mouths in that kind of weather.

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  32. It does sound scary. I can't imagine that cold either though I've been out in wind chill of -20something.

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  33. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    That just about says it all! Lol

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  34. Whoa, I've never heard of ice fog. It's kind of cool. Love the pic :)

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  35. @Carol, my pleasure!

    @Carolyn, LOL, I guess so!

    @Christine, I didn't either. Really bizarre.

    @Laura, it's 80 here today too and I'm already complaining about the humidity LOL.

    @LynnMarie, that's a good point about those with asthma, how awful.

    @Jackie, yeah, I'd never want to see it for real!

    @Mary, I definitely don't LOL.

    @Cat, yeah, it would be nice if there was some other way because it is cool looking. :D

    @Tyrean, yeah, I would imagine they would have to. I can't really comprehend it.

    @Susan, we've had that a few times here too but not often, thank goodness!

    @Michael, true enough LOL.

    @Gwen, I love the picture too!

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  36. That's pretty cool. Not sure I'd want to experience what it feels like, though. :)

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  37. That does sound creepy and quite nightmarish!

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  38. I've never even experienced snow, so the idea of ice fog is mind-boggling to me!

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  39. I'd never have to worry about ice fog. I'm sure I would DIE being anywhere below 36 degrees F! Writer’s Mark

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  40. What a trip! Seems to make sense when you think about it, but unless you live where it gets that cold, who would know to do that?

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  41. Brrrrr,
    I lived in Columbus for many years. You are right no ice fog. I'm in the Pacific North West - mostly grey rain and sometimes damp fog. I'd like to go on an Alaskan curse someday.

    Have a great A-Z

    Blessings,
    Margot at A Devotional Mosaic and Spark My Creativity

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  42. I've never experienced an ice fog before. Sounds cool (excuse the pun, lol)

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  43. Although I am a fan of cooler weather I am not sure I would like to experience ice fog either! It does look mystical though.

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  44. Hi Julie, returning the favour of your visit to my blog for the A-Z challenge.
    You have some beautiful pictures and your posts are really interesting.
    we are always moaning in the UK about the weather, but we don't get anything like this low in temperature.
    I'm very intrigued by your book too, sounds like something I'd be interested in reading :)

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  45. I would think it would be pretty damaging to the whole body if you tried to stay out in that!

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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  46. Ice fog sounds like something from my worst nightmares.
    Polar Night sounds like a fascinating read. Best of luck with it.

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  47. @Rebecca, I agree!

    @Nick, yeah, it's hard to believe it's real.

    @Heather, oh, I can imagine!

    @Nancy, LOL, you better stay out of Alaska then. :D

    @MJ, I know, I'd never imagine it in my wildest dreams, but it does make sense that it happens.

    @Margot, I lived in Columbus for a while too. I'd love to see the Pacific Northwest someday. Thanks so much!

    @Lynda, LOL, I agree. :D

    @settoncrew, that's how I feel, I like the look of it but that's where it ends.

    @Nel, thanks so much, I really appreciate it! So glad to meet you through the A-Z! :)

    @Rosalind, yeah, I don't see how you could.

    @ManicScribbler, thank you!! I really appreciate it, and love your kitty avatar! :)

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  48. I've always been intrigued by ice fog. I used it in a story I wrote a couple years ago. So fun!

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  49. @Pk, oh, I'd like to read that story, sounds awesome.

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  50. I remember lerning about this when reading/watching stuff about Russia- it's absurdly common there.

    Seeing as the coldest place i've ever been is Wisconsin I can't imagine this, either.

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  51. Oh, I imagine it is bad in Russia too. I'm glad I don't have to worry about it either!

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Thank you for your comments!