NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Great Salt Lake Health and Air Quality: Monitoring Lakebed Exposure and its Impact on Air Quality and Environmental Hazards in the Great Salt Lake Watershed Water flow into the Great Salt Lake has declined rapidly over the last forty years due to human withdrawals and climate change. As a result of declining lake levels, over 50% of the lakebed is now exposed. Dust storms may grow in frequency and intensity across Northern Utah as lakebed dust becomes airborne under specific meteorological conditions. In our research project, we utilized satellite imagery from Terra and Aqua, Sentinel-5P, CALIPSO, Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 8 OLI-2, Suomi NPP, ground sensor environmental data, and demographic data to understand the relationship between lake desiccation and dust, and the impact of pollution upon the communities surrounding the Great Salt Lake. By plotting changes in Lake Surface Area against Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) over our study period (2010-2022), we found an inverse relationship (R2=0.3423) between lake surface area and dust levels within our study area. We conducted a Vertical Feature Mask (VFM) and Extinction Coefficient Plot, from which we identified that during dust events, the aerosol type is mainly polluted dust and the aerosol height is 200 meters from the surface. Lastly, we created bivariate choropleth maps, which demonstrate which census tracts within our study area are most vulnerable to AOD (a proxy for PM2.5 from dust), NO2 and HCHO (precursors to ozone). In summary, our findings revealed that declining lake levels are associated with an increase in intensity of dust events, and these dust events will particularly impact residents of Tooele County and the west side of Salt Lake City. Project resources support partner needs by informing targeted air monitoring efforts, lakebed management practices, and advocacy efforts for GSL stewardship.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Other - DEVELOP Technical Report
Piper Christian
(Science Systems and Applications (United States) Lanham, Maryland, United States)
Andrea Delgado
(Science Systems and Applications (United States) Lanham, Maryland, United States)
Fiona Summers
(Science Systems and Applications (United States) Lanham, Maryland, United States)
Yoana Vargas Magana
(Science Systems and Applications (United States) Lanham, Maryland, United States)
Date Acquired
April 27, 2023
Publication Date
March 31, 2023
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Environment Pollution
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 970315.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
Professional Review
Terminal Saline Lake
Particulate Matter (PM)
Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)
Google Earth Engine (GEE)
Lake Surface Area
Vulnerability Maps
No Preview Available