This month, summer fog may dampen Northern Californians seeking fun at the beach. This weather may hide the sun from outdoor enthusiasts, but it does provide ideal growing conditions for the tallest trees on Earth: the coast redwoods.
When warm, moist air flows over the cold ocean water on our Northern coasts and a marine layer is formed. This marine layer helps create the foggy conditions that feed the coastal redwood forests with moisture throughout the summer when it rarely rains.
Some of the fog-loving plants of the redwood forest include the coast redwood, Douglas fir, western sword fern, and redwood sorrel. Many of these plants absorb fog directly through their leaves! Animals of the redwood forest also thrive in the fog, like the Clouded salamander. This unique amphibian breathes through its skin and needs the humid air to survive.
While the fog might seem gloomy, it’s actually an important life-giving source of water for the vibrant plants and animals in the redwood forests. Watch the Redwood River Web Cam to witness this seasonal occurrence live!
Want to learn more? Check out these redwood research studies funded by Save the Redwoods League, a California non-profit that studies redwood forests and surrounding lands to understand how to best protect them.
Photo by Stephen Sillett, Institute for Redwood Ecology, HSU