How Do Weather Conditions Affect Visibility?

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Visibility is the measurement of how far one can see in the distance, and visibility can be affected by fog and sinking air. Discover how humidity can give a city a hazy look with help from a meteorologist in this free video on understanding weather.

Part of the Video Series: Weather & Meteorology
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Video Transcript

Today, we're talking about the different ways the weather affects visibility. Visibility is just a measurement of how far you can see in the distance. Well, the number one thing that affects visibility in a negative way would be fog. Fog very easily obstructs your view. Sometimes it can lower visibility from four to five miles out down to only a mile, a half mile, quarter mile, or even sometimes less than that, up to an eighth of a mile when it's very hard to see in front of you. Fog is simply a cloud on the ground. Now, another way, though, that the weather affects visibility if the weather is calm, especially in the summertime, there's very little wind and we have high pressure, which is sinking air. When we live near cities, and cities are giving off all of this pollution into the air, if you have a calm wind -- it's not blowing it and stirring it around -- and you have sinking air with high pressure, what's happening is all of that pollution can be trapped right above and right over the city. If you have enough of that, that can affect visibility and a lot of times, especially if also you have high humidity, you get a very hazy look to a city, and that can also lower the visibilities from generally five to six miles down to perhaps only a mile or two. But by far, the number one problem with visibility caused by weather is thick, dense fog.


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