GSL greatly alters local weather patterns and can be vastly different from the surrounding areas. The "dreaded lake effect" (so named by the boaters and brine shrimp harvesters that are well familiarized with the lake's often unpredictable conditions) is the strongest in the fall and spring when temperature differences between water and air are the greatest. Three factors contribute to the strength of the Dreaded Lake Effect: lake evaporation results in more moisture in the air than the surrounding desert; natural seeding from salt particles in the air that originate from salt spray blown off of the lake; and thermal instability from air and water temperature contrasts. Temperature contrasts are believed to be the major contributing factor. An additional phenomenon of GSL is that cooling of the lake overnight can produce double the amount of fog than would otherwise usually occur.
The warming and cooling effect of the lake creates a temperature difference between the lake and air that often results in rain or snow as cold and warm air masses interact. The lake helps moderate air temperatures in the local area and creates a clime where extensive fruit crops can be grown up to 5,000 feet in elevation!
Winds change because of the temperature differences between the lake and air as well. Typically, GSL is cooler than the air during the day and warmer at night. This contrast creates high and low pressure systems that produce wind. Occasionally whirlwinds develop if the relatively small lake effect interacts with a large wind system. By morning, winds in the middle of the lake can reach up to 70-80 mph, which are usually buffeted from Salt Lake City by the Oquirrh Mountains.