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Automated delineation of dry and melt snow zones in Antarctica using active and passive microwave observations from space

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3 Author(s)
Hongxing Liu ; Dept. of Geogr., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX ; Lei Wang ; Jezek, K.C.

This paper presents the algorithms and analysis results for delineating snow zones using active and passive microwave satellite remote sensing data. With a high-resolution Radarsat synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image mosaic, dry snow zones, percolation zones, wet snow zones, and blue ice patches for the Antarctic continent have been successfully delineated. A competing region growing and merging algorithm is used to initially segment the SAR images into a series of homogeneous regions. Based on the backscatter characteristics and texture property, these image regions are classified into different snow zones. The higher level of knowledge about the areal size of and adjacency relationship between snow zones is incorporated into the algorithms to correct classification errors caused by the SAR image noise and relief-induced radiometric distortions. Mathematical morphology operations and a line-tracing algorithm are designed to extract a vector line representation of snow-zone boundaries. With the daily passive microwave Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) data, dry and melt snow zones were derived using a multiscale wavelet-transform-based method. The analysis results respectively derived from Radarsat SAR and SSM/I data were compared and correlated. The complementary nature and comparative advantages of frequently repeated passive microwave data and spatially detailed radar imagery for detecting and characterizing snow zones were demonstrated

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 8 )