Widespread fog over the Arabian peninsula

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Overnight widespread fog formed over some parts of the south-eastern Arabian peninsula and extended about 400 km inland in mid-January 2016.

Date & Time
18 January 2016 03:00–08:00 UTC
Visible combined with infrared, Night Microphysics RGB

By Majid AL Maqbali and Younis AL-Shizawi (PACA)

Thick fog covered a huge area — extending inland to cover most of Al-Buraimi, Al-Dhaira and Al-Dhakhlia governorates in Oman.

It is unusual for fog to cover such a huge area and to spread so far inland.

The fog covered the Arabian Peninsula from 16-22 January. The satellite animation (Figure 1) shows the fog on 18 January 03:00–08:00 UTC. The fog coverage continued even after sunrise, for more than four hours, which is rare for that area.

As a result of the thick fog more than 100 cars were involved in accidents on the road between Al-Ain and Abu Dahbi in United Arab Emirates.

Figure 2 the four panels show the 00:00 UTC Night Microphysics RGB images from 16 to 19 January, which also show the foggy areas (the areas which are off-white).

Met-10, 18 Jan 03:00–08:00 UTC
Animated gif of Meteosat-10 combined visible and infrared imagery
Met-10, 16-19 January 2016, 00:00 UTC
Night Microphysics RGB (Source: EUMeTrain)
Full Resolution

During the days proceeding the foggy days the area was affected by a trough of low pressure area associated with a cold front. This trough was then followed by a fresh, northwesterly wind, which exceeded 45 km/h during the day.

As this wind tracked was over the relatively warm waters of the Arabian Gulf it picked up the humidity and carried it a long distance inland, as it is clear from Cosmo model animation (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2: Animated gif of 10m wind and RH at 1000hpa level 18 Jan 03:00–08:00 UTC

From the Abu Dhabi 12:00 UTC tephigram on 17 January (Figure 3) the fog point was estimated to be about 13.5 °C and the temperature recorded in the area affected by fog was almost the same, which made the conditions suitable for fog formation. The tephi fog point method was valid for the whole period.

See also:

Beware, foggy weather ahead in Abu Dhabi (Khaleej Times)

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