Alaska Climate Research Center

The Alaska State Climate Center
The Alaska State Climate Center
The Alaska State Climate Center
Home > Projects > Icefog

ICEFOG

The ACRC has conducted several projects focused on ice fog. When the temperature is low enough (typically -30 and cooler), ice fog can form and become a hazard if it becomes too dense. Although not as common as in the past, Fairbanks has a reputation of having lots of ice fog.

Ice fog is a relatively common phenomenon of winter weather in Fairbanks

Ice Fog Microphysics

Recent research has focused on the shapes and sizes of ice fog particles. This information is used to improve forecasting of ice fog events. More information on the results of a three year measurement campaign at Fort Wainwright can be found in this publication: 

Microphysical characterization of boundary layer ice particles: results from a 3-year measurement campaign in interior Alaska. Schmitt et al., 2024. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., in press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-23-0190.1

The focus was to investigate the impact of the Fort Wainwright powerplant on ice fog. To do that, we conducted surface based measurements of ice fog particles using a highly specialized instrument, the Particle Phase Discriminator (PPD-2K) on loan from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

To provide the best transparency, our data are available at the links below. These links will be updated as we archive more of the data.

 

Ice fog climatology

In 2023, we published a study on long term trends in ice fog ocurrence. In this publication, we investigated long term data collected at regional airports. When very low temperatures coincided with reduced visibility, we are confident that ice fog exists. Our results showed a substantial reduction in ice fog events through the seven decades of available data. More information is available in this post on the ACRC blog: Ice fog in Fairbanks is becoming less frequent. 
The journal article is available here:

Long-Term Trends in Ice Fog Occurrence in the Fairbanks, Alaska, Region Based on Airport Observations. Hartl et al., 2023. Appl. Meteor. Climatol.62, 1263–1278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-22-0190.1.