Is “mist oasis” a real weather event?

Dear Tom,

I recently read a book set in the Mideast where the characters experienced something called a “mist oasis.” Although the book was fictional, I believe this a real weather event. Is it?

Scott Bentley

Dear Scott,

It certainly is. Fog or mist oases are found in some desert locations, where in addition to scant rainfall, an additional moisture source for vegetation comes from the frequent fogs and mists that shroud the area. One of the world’s best known mist oasis is in Egypt’s Ebla National Park, where moisture from the fog and mist in combination with the meager rainfall allows many varieties of vegetation to flourish, creating an ecosystem unlike any other in Egypt. Other locations that host fog or mist oases are in the coastal deserts of Peru and Chile, the Dhofar area of Oman and Guadalupe Island, located off the west coast of Baja California.

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