January 2, 2014 - Great Salt Lake and snow

Great Salt Lake and snow

The Great Salt Lake was surrounded by a heavy coating of winter snow in early December, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAs Terra satellite captured this true-color image as it passed over the region on December 11.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Salt Lake City area received 10.1 in (25.6 cm) of snow between December 1 and December 11, 2013 and the total since October 1 was 13.6 in (34.5 cm). While the snowfall from October 1 to December 11 was near normal, the first eleven days of December were unusually snowy month, with total snowfall 5.7 in (14.5 cm) greater than average.

The region was also in the grips of an icy blast, with a high temperature of 26F (-3.3C) recorded at Salt Lake City on December 11, and a low of 5F (-15C). These temperatures are 18F and 15F, respectively, lower than average for that day. Salt Lake City sits on the south east corner of the Great Salt Lake.

Despite the frigid temperatures and widespread snowfall, the lake itself shows no signs of freezing. Although the freezing point of water is 32F (0C), the water of the Great Salt Lake is highly saline, and the present of salt decreases the freezing point of water. Because of its salinity, the freezing point of the Great Salt Lake is 11.8F (-11.2C) a temperature rarely reached during wintertime.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 12/11/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC