Snow Cover Area Estimation Using Radar and Optical Satellite Information


Obtaining the seasonal variation of snow cover in areas of the Argentinian Andes is important for hydrological studies and can facilitate proper planning of water resources, with regard to irrigation, supply, flood attenuation and hydroelectricity. Remote sensors that work in the visible and infrared wavelength range are operational tools for monitoring the snow in clear skies. However, microwave satellites are able to obtain data regardless of atmospheric conditions. The advantage of using radar images is that they are very useful to obtain highly accurate parameters such as snow moisture depth, density and water equivalent resulting in improved forecasting models. In this paper, we analyze an ERS-2 image of the Andes mountain range in the northern region of the Neuquén province, Patagonia, Argentina. The objective was to obtain the spatial distribution of wet and dry snow and to compare these results with data from optical sensors (LANDSAT) in order to understand the topographic variables that influence the spatial distribution of wet snow. Optical information from sensors like LANDSAT TM 5 was analyzed to obtain fractional and binary snow indexes during a passage simultaneously with radar data. Surface temperature is used to study the association between the different types of snow altitudinal ranges and surface temperature. In this paper, we selected a scene on October 8th 2005. The entire methodology was systematized in a code implemented in IDL language.

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Salcedo, A. and Cogliati, M. (2014) Snow Cover Area Estimation Using Radar and Optical Satellite Information. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 514-523. doi: 10.4236/acs.2014.44047.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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