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This paper presents an algorithm that estimates the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of snow water equivalent and snow depth based on passive remote sensing measurements. It combines the inversion of passive microwave remote sensing measurements via dense media radiative transfer modeling results with snow accumulation and melt model predictions to yield improved estimates of snow depth and snow water equivalent, at a pixel resolution of 5 arc-min. In the inversion, snow grain size evolution is constrained based on pattern matching by using the local snow temperature history. This algorithm is applied to produce spatial snow maps of Upper Rio Grande River basin in Colorado. The simulation results are compared with that of the snow accumulation and melt model and a linear regression method. The quantitative comparison with the ground truth measurements from four Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) sites in the basin shows that this algorithm is able to improve the estimation of snow parameters.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:41 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: March 2003