2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM


CROSMAN, Erik T. and HOREL, John D., Meteorology, University of Utah, 135 S 1460 E ROOM 819, Salt Lake CIty, UT 84112-0110, ecrosman@met.utah.edu

The hydrology and ecology of the Great Salt Lake depends on the complex interactions between net precipitation within its basin, surface and subsurface runoff into the Lake, and evaporation from its surface. The level, areal extent, volume, and temperature of the Lake undergo large seasonal and interannual fluctuations; however, the interannual climate signals responsible for such dramatic fluctuations are not clear. While the Great Salt Lake has been an object of observation since the advent of satellite meteorology, no comprehensive study of the Lake's temperature has been conducted on the basis of remote sensing. Over the past decade, the availability and accuracy of satellite-derived temperature measurements have become arguably sufficient to determine climate signals. In addition, remote sensing of the Great Salt Lake gives insight into spatial variations in Lake temperature, salinity, and turbidity. Thermal patterns related to river inflow, thermal fronts, gyres, and variable mixing of the Lake have been documented from satellite imagery. Initial validation of satellite- derived temperature estimates with in situ data shows relatively good agreement (within 1-2 degrees C). The accuracy of thermal retrievals over the Lake is limited by a number of sources of error, although quantifying the collective effects of these errors requires improved validation.