12 Facts about Fog Breath

What is Breathing? What are the Components of Inhaled and Exhaled Air? Why does Exhaling Air have moisture? How much Water Vapor can there be in a single breath? Why can you see your Breath on a Winter Day? What are Breath Condensation and the Factors responsible for it?
12 facts about fog breath
Photo by Alain Wong on Unsplash

Breathing is a natural phenomenon that every living being carries on. It indicates whether the person is alive or not. You inhale and exhale. It is just so common, but a fog breath is something new. I wonder if you breath fog just like the fog you see in winters. No worries and no need to be confused about any of these, because along with them, you will also get to know about breath condensation.

1. Breathing

It is the process of taking in air into the lungs and from the lungs. It is also known as ventilation. The process of taking in oxygen is termed inhaling and the process of breathing out carbon dioxide is termed exhaling. (See When and How do Body Systems Work together?)

2. Purpose of Breathing

The main purpose of breathing is to bring fresh air into the alveoli to enhance gaseous exchange in the blood. Must read how many heartbeats in a day of humans?

3. Components of Inhaled Air

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You do not just inhale oxygen from your surroundings but you inhale about 350 ml of warm and moistened atmospheric air into your lungs. Also, check out Is Air an Element, Compound, or Mixture?

4. Components in Exhaled Air

When you exhale the air out of your mouth it does not contain carbon dioxide only. You breathe out some oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and water vapor too. This is the composition of the air every time you exhale. 

5. Reason behind the Presence of Water Vapor in Exhaled Air

Our body is made up of 70% of water, which is a lot of water by the way. But it is an essential component for all the functions taking place inside our body. To know the reason behind fog breath, first, understand the presence of moisture. The lungs are responsible for handling all the functions related to the exchange of gases and they are not free from water either. Absorption, filtration, and exhalation take place in the lungs. Thus, the exhaled air contains moisture.

So every time a human exhales, the breath contains moisture present from relative humidity. It is the amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere and expressed as a percentage of the amount of air needed for saturation at the same temperature. The amount of humidity in each breath ranges from 40 % to 90 %. Must read what state has the highest humidity?

6. Way to Check Moisture

Cup your palms in front of your mouth and breathe out into them a few times. Now, take away your hands and rub them together. You can feel the presence of moisture in your palms. This is evidence of the presence of water vapor (moisture) in every breath you exhale. (See Why is Grass Wet in the Morning?)

7. Fog Breath during Summer

It is not possible outdoors due to the soaring temperatures during summers. However, if the conditions required for condensation are met indoors, then there are chances of having fog breath during summer too. For example, when you enter cold storage or a large chiller, you have fog breath even during summers. It is because of the cold temperatures prevailing inside the cold storage and chillers, that lead to condensation of the exhaled air. (See What States don’t get Snow?)

8. Breath Fog on Winters

Your inner body temperature remains greater than the exterior temperatures, even on a cold day. Therefore, the air you exhale is full of moisture in gaseous form. The molecules of the water vapor in your exhaled air lose their energy as it comes in contact with the cold air outside. This reduces their speed because the gas molecules clump together and become tiny particles of liquid water. Keeping other factors unchanged or undisturbed. Then you can see your breath on a winter day when the temperature falls to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.22 Celsius) or below. (See What does the Thermometer and Snowflake mean on Weather App?)

9. Visibility of Fog Breath

You can see the breaths during winter or when you are in a colder place indoors too. This happens because the cold air travels slowly in comparison to warm air and also because the exhaled warm air contains water vapor (gaseous form) which makes it lighter and capable of traveling faster. But after condensation, the gas converts into the water, which makes the molecules heavier to travel. This is why you can see your breath. (See What are the Northern Lights?)

10. Concept of Condensation

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The change in the state of matter from its gaseous form into liquid form is termed condensation. It occurs when the water vapor (moisture) is cooled or compressed to its threshold limit. Depending on the stage reached by the moisture (water vapor) on condensing, there are 3 types of condensation. Clouds, Dew, and Fog are the 3 categories.

  • Clouds are formed at higher altitudes when the temperature decreases and the moisture in clouds begin to cool down. The molecules come closer and convert into a cluster of clouds laden with liquid moisture.
  • Dew is tiny water droplets formed on cold surfaces. These droplets are formed when the temperature of the object falls below the dew point. To know more about it, check out how is Dew formed?
  • Fog is the layer of tiny water droplets or ice crystals formed on the surface of the Earth. It can reduce visibility and the suspension present in the air. Also, check out the condensation examples in real life.

11. Concept of Breath Condensation

The process behind fog breath happens because of the breath condensation. The process of breath condensation is similar to the condensation of clouds and fog formation. When you exhale moisture-laden air from your mouth or nose, it comes into contact with the cold air in the atmosphere. This causes the warm exhaled air to cool down rapidly and convert into fog. (See What are the Names of Coldest Places on Earth?)

12. Factors responsible for Breath Condensation

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There are 3 factors responsible for breath condensation, namely pressure, relative humidity, and temperature. Condensation happens when there is a difference in the relative humidity between the exhaled air and surrounding (atmospheric) air. Dust is yet another factor, but breath condensation takes place even in the absence of dust. (See How do Mountains affect Dry Areas like Nevada?)

So, now you know about fog breath and breath condensation. It is time to share this information about breath fog with your friends and family. You can also ask them first to see if they know the reason for it or not. (Also read Top 10 Major Mountain Ranges of the World)

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