A few of my non-Utahn friends have asked me what an inversion is after I have mentioned it, this image might help to show what an inversion can look like.
Tooele County, Utah – Inversion at sunrise
Inversions here in the Salt Lake City area happen during mid-winter. It is not pretty and it can be very unhealthy. I took this photo this morning as we headed to North and South Willow Canyons in Tooele County, Utah to look for birds to photograph. If you squint your eyes and look just to the right of the sun you can see the Oquirrh mountain range which is all but hidden in the haze.
One of the most significant weather events in Salt Lake City occurs in mid-winter, when temperature inversions sometimes form, resulting in cold and extremely foggy, hazy weather in the city while the surrounding mountains enjoy warmer temperatures and sunshine. Temperature inversions are extremely unhealthy and can occur weeks at a time, and are most pronounced in the heart of winter, although may occur in other seasons to a lesser extent. Humidity is only high enough and temperatures cold enough for fog to occur in the heart of winter, although haze and smog can be found year-round. Inversions occur when strong areas of high pressure park themselves over the Great Basin. It usually takes a cold front to force out or break down the high pressure. Consequently, inversions are very rare in spring and fall, when the atmosphere usually takes on a progressive pattern, with fronts moving through frequently.
It was very cold this morning when I took this image at -10 degrees Fahrenheit, it was bone-chilling to say the least.
These nasty inversions can create challenges for bird photographers when photographing birds in flight that have the inversion layer behind them because the sky can have some weird hues to it.
Salt Lake City actually has five seasons, winter, spring, summer, fall and Inversion. Okay it is not truly a season, but it ought to be.
Did I mention it is not pretty?