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An Approach to Measure Snow Depth of Winter Accumulation at Basin Scale Using Satellite Data

Authors: M. Geetha Priya, D. Krishnaveni


Snow depth estimation and monitoring studies have been carried out for decades using empirical relationship or extrapolation of point measurements carried out in field. With the development of advanced satellite based remote sensing techniques, a modified approach is proposed in the present study to estimate the winter accumulated snow depth at basin scale. Assessment of snow depth by differencing Digital Elevation Model (DEM) generated at the beginning and end of winter season can be experimented for the region of interest (Himalayan and polar regions) accounting for winter accumulation (solid precipitation). The proposed approach is based on existing geodetic method that is being used for glacier mass balance estimation. Considering the satellite datasets purely acquired during beginning and end of winter season, it is possible to estimate the change in depth or thickness for the snow that is accumulated during the winter as it takes one year for the snow to get transformed into firn (snow that has survived one summer or one-year old snow).

Keywords: snow cover, digital elevation model, snow depth, geodetic method

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