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Fog enveloping Tel Aviv a symptom of global warming, expert says

Climate specialist explains phenomenon is caused by higher temperatures at North Pole disrupting world’s weather

  • Morning fog blankets the city of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean seashore, on January 4, 2021. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
    Morning fog blankets the city of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean seashore, on January 4, 2021. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
  • Two pedestrians walk on the beach early on January 6, 2021, in the coastal city of Netanya amid the morning fog on the first week of the new year. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    Two pedestrians walk on the beach early on January 6, 2021, in the coastal city of Netanya amid the morning fog on the first week of the new year. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • A man goes fishing amid morning fog in the coastal city of Netanya on January 6, 2021. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    A man goes fishing amid morning fog in the coastal city of Netanya on January 6, 2021. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

For the fourth morning in a row, heavy fog descended on coastal areas of Israel Wednesday, blanketing towns and reducing vision for drivers, with a meteorological expert saying the phenomenon is being caused by an unusual warm, dry period of atmospheric stability.

The fog covered the central and southern coastal plain, south-central Israel, and the northeastern Negev desert region. It was particularly heavy in the area of Tel Aviv.

The weather phenomenon, whose impact was first felt in Israel on Sunday, is most prevalent in the morning and can persist as late as noon.

Amit Savir of the Israel Meteorological Service told Kan News that the fog was the result of a mid-winter dry period.

Morning fog blankets the city of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean seashore, on January 4, 2021. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

“Unusually there is now a holding back of rain, accompanied by hot air that traps the moisture beneath it, and does not allow the thin layer of moisture adjacent to the ground to dissipate,” Savir explained. “It’s unusual to have three weeks without rain in the middle of winter, with spring-like weather. Once every few years there is such a phenomenon.”

Climate expert Amir Givati also told Army Radio that such fog can appear at the beginning or end of winter, but that it is unusual for it to come in the middle of the season.

A man walks his dog on the beach in morning fog in the coastal city of Netanya on January 6, 2021. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

A recent dry spell in Israel has come in the wake of a particularly wet autumn. Heavy rains followed by an out-of-season dry period is a symptom of global warming, Givati said.

He explained that this year the North Pole experienced particularly hot conditions, limiting the blast of cold air it usually sends south in the winter and disrupting weather patterns.

“It is a little worrying,” he said.

Nonetheless, the current very dry, stable conditions are expected to finally begin to ebb by next week, when more wintry conditions are expected to return, he predicted.

A general view taken on January 6, 2021 shows silhouetted buildings in the skyline of the coastal city of Netanya amid the morning fog on the first week of the new year. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

On Monday the dense fog grounded planes at Ben Gurion Airport, with some flights that were planning to land in Tel Aviv redirected.

The weather is different from the yellow-tinged haze caused by dust in the air, which sometimes drifts in, including during two sandstorms that blanketed the country in 2015 that were the worst since modern Israel’s establishment in 1948.

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