Great Salt Lake Information System

Climate

<<< Return to Unique Features

The Great Salt Lake Basin is a snow-dominated hydrologic system, and as such it is highly sensitive to climate change.

From year to year, streamflow throughout the basin is highly dependent on the amount of snow that falls in the mountains during the winter. Satellite images of the area surrounding the Great Salt Lake taken during February and June of 2001 show the contrast between winter snow cover conditions and summer.

Side-by-side photographs of the Great Salt Lake in the Winter and the Summer

The following figure shows an annual streamflow hydrograph dominated by spring snowmelt runoff from late April through early July (USGS 10131000 - CHALK CREEK AT COALVILLE UT). This pattern is typical for unregulated streams throughout the Great Salt Lake Basin.

Hydrograph

Annual variability in streamflow is shown in the following figure (USGS 10131000 - CHALK CREEK AT COALVILLE UT). As stated above, this variability in streamflow is directly related to changes in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow from year to year, and is also typical throughout the Great Salt Lake Basin.

<<< Return to Unique Features