Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dusty Northwest Wind

A weak cold front passed through the Salt Lake Valley early this morning, ushering in a period of stiff northwest winds of about 25 miles per hour with gusts at times into the low 30s at the Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC).

There appears to be some dust in the post-frontal environment as the mountains are somewhat obscured compared to what one would fine with a "pristine" post-frontal airmass.

Oquirrh Mountains from the Avenues Foothills
The source of dust during these weak events is unclear.  The dust is not thick enough to detect with satellite imagery.  Is it from the playa around the Great Salt Lake?  Is it of a more remote origin?  Is the dust deposited from these weak events significant relative to major episodes during strong windstorms?  These are important questions given the role of dust in the ecology and snow hydrology of the region.

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