USU researchers discover Great Salt Lake cycles

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Researchers at Utah State University say they have found a predictable pattern to the wet-dry cycles of the Great Salt Lake. The lake’s levels vacillate from year to year and Rob Gillies, the director of the Utah Climate Center, says the discovery of a rhythm could be useful in helping to manage crops, reservoirs and water use. Gillies and his team studied suspected patterns against temperature measurements, precipitation readings, tree-ring data and Great Salt Lake levels. They found a relationship between sea-surface temperatures in a specific area of the Pacific Ocean and precipitation in northern Utah. The research suggests a 12-year cycle with a three-year delay. As the Pacific temperatures head toward their lowest, precipitation in northern Utah starts to increase. And a drought results when ocean temperatures approach their warmest.

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