Friday, October 30, 2015

The Great Salt Lake Is Jacked

The Great Salt Lake may be near its all-time record low elevation and area, but lake-surface temperatures right now are running quite high.  Because the Great Salt Lake is so shallow, lake-surface temperatures often reflect recent temperatures at the Salt Lake City airport and so far this month the average temperature at the airport is a whopping 61.2ºF (16.2ºC).  Consistent with this observation, satellite-derived lake-surface temperatures averaged for the past 2 days are generally above 14ºC, except in shallow areas along the coast, and average 15ºC for the lake as a whole.

It's very difficult to place these lake-surface temperatures in a long-term context.  The satellite record is fairly short, and most of the long-term observations are from Saltair a single location on the south coast.  Nevertheless, if we look at the lake-surface temperatures from Saltair for 1972–1988, we find that 15ºC is near or above the upper margins of the range for November 1 (data is bimonthly).
Source: Steenburgh et al. (2000)
So we can probably safely conclude that the Great Salt Lake is quite warm for this time of year.

Will that mean a big lake-effect storm?  It really depends on whether or not the atmosphere decides to cooperate.

1 comment:

  1. Extra warm water vs. diminished size plus storms next week....I'll get the popcorn!