Case Study

Prolonged Fog Episode in the UK

18 December 2006

60 Minutes

Vesa Nietosvaara
Wilfried Jacobs

Prolonged Fog Episode in the UK

Published: 18 December 2006

This case study presents the synoptic analysis of an event that took place from the 18th to 23th December over the UK. During this period dense fog was covering many places in the UK causing extremely bad conditions for aviation. For a busy international airport like Heathrow the cancellation of hundreds of flights just at the peak travel season (a few days before Christmas) meant chaos and significant economic loss. Changes in travel plans affected at least tens of thousands of passengers.

Fog itself is a common event on the British Isles at this time of the year. However, the duration of the episode justifies a closer look at the event. In addition, the visibility within the fog was at times very low, and this heavily affected the air-traffic even at airports having the most advanced instrumentation for low-visibility flight operations.

This study concentrates only on the area in the southeastern UK, but basically similar synoptic conditions with reduced visibility at times prevailed also on the European continent during this episode. What makes this case study differ from many other case studies is the absence or small influence of atmospheric fronts or dynamic forcing (such as PVA or PV anomalies).

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Filed under Keywords:

Fog, Winter, Radiation Fog, Aviation