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Determining the date of snowmelt clearance is an important issue for hydrological and climate research. Spaceborne radiometers are ideally suited for global snowmelt monitoring. In this paper, four different algorithms are used to determine the snowmelt date from Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer and Special Sensor Microwave/Imager data for a nearly 30-year period. Algorithms are based on thresholding channel differences, on applying neural networks, and on time series analysis. The results are compared with ground-based observations of snow depth and snowmelt status available through the Russian INTAS-SSCONE observation database. Analysis based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer data indicates that these pointwise observations are applicable as reference data. The obtained error estimates indicate that the algorithm based on time series analysis has the highest performance. Using this algorithm, a time series of the snowmelt from 1979 to 2007 is calculated for the whole Eurasia showing a trend of an earlier snow clearance. The trend is statistically significant. The results agree with earlier research. The novelty here is the demonstration and validation of estimates for a large continental scale (for areas dominated by boreal forests) using extensive reference data sets.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:47 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2009