Winters Climate Change Affects the Water Vapor in the Atmosphere, Reports Water Researcher to Radio Host Sharon Kleyne

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Radio interview with Gerald Pollack, PhD, and Bio Logic Aqua Research Founder and fresh water advocate Sharon Kleyne on the seasonal effects of weather on visibility.

Water researcher Gerald Pollack, PhD, during a recent interview with fresh water advocate and radio host Sharon Kleyne, noted that whitish haze in the air that ruins photographs and makes distant objects appear fuzzy is a summer and warm weather phenomenon. Visibility can also be affected, Kleyne noted, by temperature inversions and air pollution.

Pollack was interviewed on the Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio show of November 10, 2014. For a podcast of the show, go to http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2207/the-sharon-kleyne-hour

Gerald Pollack, PhD, is a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. His latest book is The Fourth Phase of Water (Ebner & Sons, 2013). Pollack is the discover of Fourth Phase Water, a phase in addition to water’s solid, liquid and vapor phases. Fourth Phase Water is midway between ice and liquid but is not cold and has unique properties vital to human health.

The syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio show, hosted by fresh water advocate Sharon Kleyne, is heard weekly on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes. The show is sponsored by Bio Logic Aqua Research, a global research and technology center founded by Kleyne and specializing in fresh water, the atmosphere and dehydration. Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center’s signature Hand Held Portable Personal Misting Humidifier™ for dry eyes.

When the atmosphere is warm, Pollack explains, not only does more liquid water evaporate from the Earth’s surface but the air’s physical ability to hold moisture and humidity increases. Water vapor molecules – among the smallest molecules in the universe - tend to cluster around tiny airborne particles to form “vesicles” – tiny water droplets measuring 20 to 30 micrometers in diameter. One micrometer equals 1/1,000,000,000 of a meter. The warmer the temperature, the more vesicles are formed and the larger they can become.

As these vesicles rise into the atmosphere, they eventually hit a ceiling, accumulate into clouds, enlarge into drops of precipitation and fall back to Earth.

Haze occurs, according to Pollack, because humidity vesicles diffuse or bend light. As humidity droplets increase in size and frequency, haze increased until it eventually becomes fog.

Paradoxically, Kleyne adds, in the Pacific Northwest, dense ground fog is associated more with winter than summer and occurs most frequently at night during clear weather. That’s because lower dew points and rapidly plummeting night temperatures force moisture out of the air. “Dew point,” the temperature below which humidity is forced out of the air, is a function of barometric pressure and temperature.

The summer haze phenomenon is the reason for the “smokiness” of the Great Smokey Mountains. Haze is most apparent when viewing distant hills or mountains from low elevation areas. However, in the United States, Kleyne observes, summer humidity is highest – and summer haze is the worst – in the Southeast.

Air can become hazy and visibility impaired, according to Kleyne, for other reasons besides increasing atmospheric water vapor and humidity. Winter inversion layers and air pollution can also cause poor visibility.

With winter inversion layers, Kleyne explains, warm air becomes trapped in low lying areas by cooler air moving in overnight. Winter inversion layers are most common in the morning and break up as the sun warms the upper atmosphere. Smoke and air pollution trapped by an inversion layer can impair visibility at ground level.

The interaction of water vapor and pollution, says Kleyne, is highly complex and also affects visibility. Suspended smoke and particulate material decreases visibility regardless of the time of year. As tiny pollution particles rise into the atmosphere, they attract water molecules exactly like naturally suspended dust particles do. Certain types of particulate pollution - carbon soot and fly ash – have a particularly strong tendency to attract water molecules. Pollution based humidity vesicles tend to drop to the ground prematurely, before reaching the cloud forming zone. The result is haze and increased humidity at low altitudes, less humidity in the upper atmosphere, and less rainfall. As with normal haze, and barring an inversion layer, according to Kleyne, pollution based haze is more likely to occur in warm weather than cold weather. What is the best time of year for crystal clear landscape photography? Fall, winter and spring, which have the additional advantage of less direct sunlight, which means more contrasting shadows and a more dramatic photo.

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Mikaylah Roggasch
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