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Global identification of snowcover using SSM/I measurements

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2 Author(s)
N. C. Grody ; Satellite Res. Lab., NOAA, Washington, DC, USA ; A. N. Basist

Visible satellite sensors have monitored snowcover throughout the Northern Hemisphere for almost thirty years. These sensors can detect snowcover during daylight, cloud-free conditions. The operational procedure developed by NOAA/NESDIS requires an analyst to manually view the images in order to subjectively distinguish between clouds and snowcover. Because this procedure is manually intensive, it is only performed weekly. Since microwave sensors see through nonprecipitating clouds, snowcover can be determined objectively without the intervention of an analyst. Furthermore, microwave sensors can provide daily analysis of snowcover in real-time, which is essential for operational forecast models and regional hydrologic monitoring. Snowcover measurements are obtained from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), flown aboard the DMSP satellites. A decision tree, containing various filters, is used to separate the scattering signature of snowcover from other scattering signatures. Problem areas are discussed and when possible, a filter is developed to eliminate biases. The finalized decision tree is an objective algorithm to monitor the global distribution of snowcover. Comparisons are made between the SSM/I snowcover product and the NOAA/NESDIS subjectively analyzed weekly product

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 1 )