What is the Difference Between Dew vs Frost?

What is the Difference Between Dew vs Frost?

Have you ever wandered around a forest rich in mosses and trees? Did the liquid droplets on the surface of the leaves or the ice forming on the branches of the trees catch your attention? You may have wondered what these are called. Is it dew or frost? What is the difference between dew and frost? This article should provide a better understanding of what these two are and how they compare.

Definition of Dew

What is dew? The definition of dew can be explained by the cycle of condensation. It is the conversion of the state of matter from gas to liquid when it reaches a liquid or a solid front. Dew is a liquid formed in the form of droplets. These droplets are often seen in thin, uncovered objects in the early morning or evening.

The development of dew depends on a specific soil temperature called the dew point. At lower temperatures, the air cools and becomes less capable to hold vapor. The vapor, therefore, condenses and becomes dew. The amount of dew can be measured with a device called drosometer. This device measures the amount of dew formed per surface in a unit of time.

Because of the ability of dew to provide hydration to plants and crops, the use of dew as a source of water is being investigated. One of the most efficient condensers is able to collect hundreds of liters of water every night at certain periods of the year.  

Definition of Frost

What is frost? The definition of frost can be explained by the course of deposition. It is a stage where the gas transforms into solid form by skipping the transitionary liquid phase. Frost is ice deposited on a solid surface and develops when the surface temperature passes the dew point. The colder environment allows the transformation of vapor into a solid while skipping the dew phase. There are several types of frost.

The radiation frost appears in icy crystalline forms and occurs on the ground or on an uncovered facade. This type also forms in refrigerator-freezers. An advection frost (or wind frost) appears as an ice peak and develops when cold winds blow against tree branches, pole surfaces, and other exposed areas.

The window frost types can occur after a window pane has been subjected to cold outside air and foggy inside air. This form is common in places with generally cold climates. Rime frost is a frost that resembles a layer of ice. It is triggered by cold, windy weather conditions.

Frost, in most forms, is considered a threat. It makes roads slippery and wet, putting motorists and commuters at risk. It is also a threat to agriculture because it destroys crops that do not grow under frost conditions. In order to prevent plant cells from freezing, agriculturists spray them with non-freezing bacteria to mitigate frost damage. Another method is to make a selective inverted sink. In this method, a large fan is used to draw moist, icy air away from the crops by pushing it up a chimney. 

Main Differences Between Dew vs Frost

Basis of ComparisonDewFrost
Formation ProcessCondensationDeposition
Temperature to formDew pointFrost point
State prior formationGasGas

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Dew vs Frost

The formation of dew and frost is an amazing phenomenon. By simply changing the cold level of an area, either of them can form. When the landscape is cold enough to reach the dew point, dew forms. If it gets colder than the dew point, then frost forms. In the same way, they change from a vaporous phase to another physical state. It is through condensation that vapor transforms into dew.

Through the process of deposition, vapor turns into frost. Dew is considered beneficial for providing moisture to plants and crops. On the other hand, frost is not advantageous and is even harmful to agriculture because it brings the temperature to a level where plants and crops cannot survive. Fortunately, agriculturists have discovered methods to mitigate the harmful effects of frost through the use of genetically modified organisms and mechanical mechanisms.

Hopefully, this article has been able to clarify the difference and distinguish dew vs frost clearly enough to avoid confusing them. The next time you see water droplets in the middle of a leaf or icy structures around a fern, you will be able to easily tell whether you’re looking at a frost or a dew.