Friday, March 18, 2011

Dust Already?

I've been a bit surprised already at the wide spread dust that appears to be present across much of the region despite flow that is not especially strong.

You can just make out the Oquirrh Mountains looking
west from Olympus Cove.
Although one might be tempted to call this haze, the relative humidity is far to low to produce haze particles.  The relative humidity is presently 30% at the Salt Lake City Airport and typically needs to be above 70% for haze droplets to form.

In the previous post, I noted that the Sevier Lake bed and Milford Flat fire scar are often dust emission sources for Utah, but they don't seem active today, and unfortunately most of the area to our southwest  is covered by clouds, which makes dust source identification nearly impossible.  Thus, I'm working on a mystery without any clues!

Sometimes even with modern technology it's tough to figure out what's going on.  Today is such a day.


  1. It seemed to move in at upper levels first... the sky was milky white late yesterday (Thursday) after it cleared, with a hazy red sunset. It was also geographically widespread. Perhaps some Gobi Desert dust is involved?

  2. I had a similar thought, although it seemed bit thick compared to past Asian dust events I've witnessed here.

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  4. I agree... there was blowing dust reported in western Nevada yesterday too, so I wouldn't be surprised if that was at least a secondary source. I have noticed in the past that the Asian dust rarely seems to reduce the low-level visibility very much.
    I came across a couple of incredible Chinese dust storm photos on this page, apparently from March 2010:

  5. Can you let me know what stations in Nevada were reporting dust?

  6. When I looked on Friday afternoon, I believe that it was Lovelock (and possibly Fallon), NV reporting blowing dust. Both of those stations had winds gusting to ~40+ mph. Winnemucca reported "haze" (probably dust).

  7. Looking at wind trajectories, these areas pretty clearly were not upwind of us. So I guess I am still pretty clueless as to where our dust came from.