U.S. funds $7.5M study with Canadian scientists to help predict marine fog

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A large technological tract survey of marine fog disconnected the eastbound seashore of Canada is astir to start.

The probe is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and hopes to amended foretell 1 of the astir unpredictable upwind phenomena: fog. 

Fog can rapidly ruin visibility everywhere from harbours to highways to airports, and tin interfere with weapons systems. But however it's created is not profoundly understood, which is one crushed fog tin beryllium predicted lone a fewer hours successful advance, if astatine all.

"Prediction is captious due to the fact that each twelvemonth successful Canada astir 50 to 60 radical dice due to the fact that of the visibility for fog-related issues," said Ismail Gultepe, a probe idiosyncratic from the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada who is progressive successful the project.

Ismail Gultepe is simply a probe idiosyncratic with the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada. (David Laughlin/CBC)

Researchers chose to survey the greater Grand Banks area in the North Atlantic as it's 1 of the foggiest places successful summertime, along with the Yellow Sea off China. In 2023, the probe survey volition determination to the Yellow Sea.

"I would accidental this is the largest fog task ever undertaken truthful far," said Joe Fernando, of Notre Dame University successful Indiana who is starring the study.

He spoke from wrong a hangar astatine Halifax Stanfield Airport, wherever much than 4 tonnes of atmospheric measuring instrumentality was being flown to Sable Island, 300 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

Instruments volition besides beryllium deployed from the Irving-owned offshore proviso vessel Atlantic Condor, which has been chartered for a month-long ngo successful July. The vessel volition cruise from Sable Island to the Grand Banks.

"The wide task extremity is to amended the predictability of marine fog to the grade possible. It is precise hard to predict, 1 of the slightest predictable successful marine meteorology," said Fernando.

Joe Fernando from Notre Dame University is starring the study. (David Laughlin/CBC)

The enigma of fog

Fog is created erstwhile h2o droplets signifier astir particles but interaction of each the atmospheric processes progressive is not good understood.

"Fog is rapidly changing and that is the difficulty. It is rapidly coming, rapidly going, and we don't cognize however agelong it'll stay," said Fernando.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research commissioned the $7.5 cardinal study. The information gathered is not classified.

Fernando said an important constituent of the survey includes "directed vigor laser beam propagation done the ambiance truthful that the targets coming successful tin beryllium nullified by the laser beam."

Canadian involvement

Dozens of scientists are involved, including Canadian researchers from the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada, York University, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network and Dalhousie University successful Halifax.

The Atlantic Condor volition beryllium carrying instruments from the laboratory of Rachel Chang.

The aerosol idiosyncratic astatine Dalhousie volition measurement the size and fig of particles successful the ambiance and however they impact fog visibility and duration.

Rachel Chang is an subordinate prof successful the section of physics and atmospheric subject astatine Dalhousie University. (David Laughlin/CBC)

She's besides studying droplets that signifier astir a brackish particle and those that signifier astir concern emissions blown into the area.

"That's really the bosom of what I'm truly funny in, is whether the root of the particles — whether they're coming from the water oregon coming from emissions — and whether that truly affects visibility oregon not."

Climate change

Ismail Gultepe astatine the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada is besides investigating the interaction of clime alteration connected the instauration and disappearance of fog. The much h2o vapour created successful the unfastened ocean, the much fog, helium said.

"That's wherefore we similar to find retired however the fog survives and changes successful climatic conditions," Gultepte said, adding an important result volition beryllium improved modelling to foretell fog.

A hangar astatine the Halifax airdrome is shown. Atmospheric instrumentality is being prepared for formation to Sable Island wherever it volition beryllium installed arsenic portion of the tract study. (David Laughlin/CBC)

The task is known arsenic FATIMA, for Fog and Turbulence Interactions successful the Marine Atmosphere.

The survey volition measurement upwind turbulence, fog micro-physics and chemistry, unreality height, h2o vapours and different conditions. It volition usage upwind balloons, radar and lidar.

The Atlantic Condor volition besides deploy a remotely piloted tiny vas and glider that will make precocious water and little atmospheric measurements. 

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