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So what is sea smoke? It's essentially fog above the water. In order for this thick sea smoke to occur, you need cold air above relatively warm water. When wind mixes that cool air with the warm air immediately above the water, moisture condenses it into fog, or sea smoke. Think about the steam above a boiling pot of water or a warm bath or a hot drink or even an exercising person: it's the same process! 

Arctic sea smoke is sea smoke forming over small patches of open water in sea ice or even above the ice itself. Off the coast of Canada the Grand Banks has the cold Labrador Current mixing with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, often causing extremely foggy conditions. It is usually not very high and lookouts on a ship's bridge can usually see over it (but small boats may have very poor visibility) because the fog is confined to the layer of warm air above the sea. In the 'old days' they climbed the mast to see ahead.

Jeff Carter's photo above captures this at Dunbar!

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