Today was the beginning race in the Great Salt Lake Winter Training Series. H and her sister ran while I made photos as usual. While I was waiting for everybody to come back, I noticed a guy preparing a weather balloon. I had some experience a few years ago launching balloons of this type for communications antennas and thought I’d walk over to see what he was up to. It turns out Erik Crosman is a post-doc at the U of U Department of Atmospheric Science working on a project to study cold temperature pools on the Wasatch Front and he was kind enough to take a few minutes to explain his research. The idea is that we have some horrible inversions here in the Salt Lake Valley and Erik and his research team are interested in how the inversions form, how to predict them and perhaps how to mitigate the formation through prediction and public policy. Its much needed given predictions of population growth on the Wasatch Front over the next few decades and will have to come with other measures, but this is a good start. To give you an idea of how bad the inversions here can get, check out some great shots last year of the inversion set in over the Salt Lake Valley from about 15,000ft.
Update, February 11: I had a bit of a surprise the other day when my wife handed me that days paper and asked “did you know about this?”. It turns out one of the pics in this series ran in the Salt Lake Tribune here. I also made a post about it in the Utah Photojournalism site.