Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fog and Rain

I was thinking of writing a post about our climate in the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.  Specifically I wanted to write about the fact that it is rather on the dry side, despite the influence of the Great Lakes.  Before I started, I thought I should check how much rain we actually get in a year.  I discovered we get a lot more than I thought. However, it would appear that the amount of rain is not as important as how it falls, especially when you compare how much rain falls different places in the world.

Field to the east of the house in October

Some yearly rainfall statistics are quite surprising. For instance, Dallas, Texas, gets 942 mm of rain a year, while London England gets 592 mm! In fact, most European cities get less rain than eastern North American ones.

Toronto 762mm     Madrid 431mm
Chicago 863           Berlin and Rome 583
Boston 1067           Paris 635
Vancouver 1107     Amsterdam 787           
New York 1194      Bergen 2075

Vancouver, well-known for its constant rain, gets less precipitation than New York! Of course it must have to do with how the rain falls. Vancouver specializes in drizzles and does not get any cyclones that dump huge amounts of rain, whereas New York gets them regularly.

With an average yearly precipitation of 684mm, it would appear that the Northern Bruce Peninsula is indeed slightly drier than the average for the region (828mm for Minneapolis, 795 for Detroit, 862mm for Chicago).  Besides, since much of our rain falls in autumn, as the numerous recent downpours show, we tend to have dry summers. In fact, some summers were very dry in the 1990s.

Fog rolling in at sunset

I think what helps our climate a lot from a gardening point of view is our numerous fogs. Probably because we are surrounded by the Great Lakes, we often have fogs at night and in the morning, which make a big difference for plants when there is no rain. We do not get a lot of fog in the daytime, but many evenings in the growing season, you can see fogs rolling in just before sunset. These fogs seem to stay around much of the night, because at dawn they are usually still lingering. Plants can soak up the moisture.

Lingering fog in the morning

Some fogs are spectacular. For instance they can be very dense but not much more than a meter high. Walking in it, you feel you are on top of a cloud. You don't see anything on the ground but everything above the low lying clouds is perfectly clear.

Usual evening fog moving in - field East of the house

These fogs are a nuisance when driving at night. It will be perfectly clear until the road goes down into a hollow, and suddenly you have no visibility at all until you reach slightly higher ground.


  1. I guess as well that the fogs will keep the frost at bay too won't they?

    1. I think you are right. I suppose it is the same principle as watering before sunrise if there is a bit of frost.

  2. It's so interesting to learn how facts fit with our perceptions.
    I used to do a deal of mountain driving, leaving often early in the morning. In Pennsylvania one could have the feeling of driving on a cloud, especially crossing the river valleys. I had to learn how to drive in fog to deal with New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

  3. Rain is what got us to move back to Nova Scotia from Vancouver. We thought it rained a lot in N.S. until we lived in B.C.!
    Actually I don't mind the rain at long as we get a few sunny days thrown in to dry things out.

  4. Lovely photographs. I love the clouds in your opening shot. They look like mountains. Sheri.

  5. What beautiful shots. I was quite surprised to see those rain statistics, too. I'm not a fan of driving in fog but it is very beautiful to look, and apparently good for the garden too. And it sure beats the torrential downpours we get in North Carolina.

  6. Interesting post. Mist is not so frequent here, but we do have it occasionally. Sometimes it hovers in the lower parts of the skyline, so the buildings seem to be emerging from clouds.

  7. We rarely get fog, except for the kind that persists in DC amongst the politicians. But when I lived in northern CA, it would be so foggy you could only see a few feet in front of you. It was really dangerous to drive in. I thought the clouds in the first photo were mountains, too.

  8. Saint John gets plenty of rain AND fog. The gardening consideration here is to plant flowers that don't tend to mildew.

  9. These photos are spectacular but that first one is my absolute favourite. Amazing!

    I nearly went nuts when I lived in BC. I couldn't take all the dampness and grey weather, especially in winter. Give me snow any day!!!


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