Thursday, April 14, 2011

SOLPEX IOP5: 1400 UTC View From Above

The enhanced visible and radar composite image below shows quite nicely the clear skies over and upstream of the western half of the Great Salt Lake, and the widespread cloud cover over the southeast corner at 1400 UTC (0800 AM MDT).

The north end team has been napping in their tent, but should emerge shortly to a spectacular morning.  Kudos to them for sticking it out another cold night in the middle of nowhere.

The edge of that cloud band lies between the strong WNW flow over the western portion of the lake and the NNW-NNE flow over the northern Wasatch Front.

Understanding these local low-level flows, including their underlying dynamical processes, may be a key piece of the lake-effect puzzle.  Local heating over a warm body of water can drive circulations of this type, but an added complexity here in Utah is topographic blocking and thermally driven flows produced by the terrain.  The data we collected overnight will help us guide modeling efforts to better understand these processes.

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