In DepthAtmospheric Science

California fogs are thinning

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Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1184-1185
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6227.1184

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For years, sun worshippers have flocked to southern California's coast, only to be disappointed each spring when the weather turns drab and foggy, a phenomenon locals call "May Gray" and "June Gloom." But the low-hanging marine clouds responsible for that gloom have declined dramatically over the past 60 years, a new study concludes. It fingers the growth of cities and their heat-retaining concrete as a prime cause. The research, recently published online in Geophysical Research Letters, offers insight into how increasing urbanization may erode coastal fog banks in the future, with potentially serious consequences for people and ecosystems. It's "the first definitive look at how fog might change for a specific coastal region," says Travis O'Brien, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, who was not involved in the research.