A surprise (but not so much) in Egypt: there is fog on the Nile


In this satellite image of northern Egypt, we can admire the Nile Delta with a look perhaps different from what many of us are used to, that is, one that resembles a fresh green flower blooming among the brown tones of the surrounding desert.

Instead, when NASA’s Terra satellite (a sun-synchronous satellite launched in 1999 to collect data on our planet’s biochemical and energy systems) flew over the area on January 7, 2024, the Nile Delta was covered by a vapor layer of low clouds. .

Here, the fertile soils of the delta are favorable for various crops such as rice, cotton and maize. Yet arable land is increasingly scarce in this arid region as Egypt’s population grows and farmers must compete with expanding cities.

It is not a rarity. In autumn and winter, fog forms more often over the delta. According to data collected over 20 years by Al Azhar University in Cairo, Borg El Arab International Airport near Alexandria experienced fog on about 10 percent of days in November, December and January. This winter fog usually forms over the delta in the morning and can last for several hours. This occurs when winds are light, relative humidity is high and temperatures are between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius.

Some researchers have experimented with technologies to “capture” this moisture. Fog “harvesting” involves the use of a netting stabilized between two poles to catch droplets of fresh water as the wind blows it through the fog.


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