Haze in the Wasatch Mountains

January 11, 2014

Haze in the Wasatch Mountains

Photographer: Brent Watson
Summary Author: Brent Watson

This photo shows a thin layer of haze below the level of the ridge tops of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. It was taken above Park City from an altitude of approximately 8,500 ft (2,590 m) on October 19, 2013. The first substantial snowfall of the season in the Wasatch Range had occurred two days prior to my flight. The snow cover helped to cool the air above, which then settled into the lower valleys to the east of the Wasatch Range. Cooling of the lower atmosphere set up a shallow temperature inversion – warm air above cold. Inversions such as this inhibit circulation in the lower valleys because the cooler, denser air is essentially trapped at the ground. If similar weather conditions persist for several days, which isn’t unusual during October, the buildup of contaminants, and even water vapor, in the trapped, stagnant air results in noticeably hazy skies.

Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D80; Lens: 18.0-135.0 mm f/3.5-5.6; Focal Length: 58.0mm (35mm equivalent: 87mm); Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0010 s (1/1000); ISO equiv: 400; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows.