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Monitoring of Snow-Cover Properties During the Spring Melting Period in Forested Areas

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4 Author(s)
Koskinen, J.T. ; Finnish Meteorol. Inst., Helsinki, Finland ; Pulliainen, J.T. ; Luojus, K.P. ; Takala, M.

As spaceborne C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observations are used for monitoring the snow cover during the spring melt period, temporal changes in backscatter from forest cover disturb the mapping of snow cover. This paper presents an analysis of snow backscattering properties in eight test areas situated around weather stations. Test areas represent open and forested landscapes in Northern Finland. Analyses are carried out using an extensive multitemporal ERS-2 C-band SAR data set from the snow melt period. We validate the following topics: 1) forest backscattering model for forest compensation; 2) Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) fractional snow-covered area (SCA) method with in situ observations; and 3) inversion of a combined forest/snow/ground backscattering model in an application to yield estimates of the relative changes of snow wetness during full snow cover conditions. The results show that the semiempirical TKK backscattering model describes the average C-band backscattering properties of all test regions well as a function of forest stem volume. Comparison of SCA estimation results with available ground-truth data also shows a good performance. The retrieved relative snow wetness values agree well with temperature observations.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 1 )