Comparative satellite capabilities for remote sensing of snow cover in the Rio Grande Basin

TitleComparative satellite capabilities for remote sensing of snow cover in the Rio Grande Basin
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsRango A., Gomez-Landesa E., Bleiweiss M.
Conference NameProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedMay 20-23, 2002
Conference LocationGranby, CO
ARIS Log Number142634
AbstractFrom 1972 until near the end of the 20th century, the use of satellite data for snow cover mapping was a viable approach under certain conditions. The spatial resolution of Landsat and the temporal frequency of NOAA-AVHRR (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) were optimum or possibly better than required individually but seldom could they be exploited together. Now, with the launch of Terra, the forthcoming launch of Aqua and numerous private satellites, both adequate spatial resolution and temporal frequency is available for mapping most size basins. When these date are used in sub-pixel mapping algorithms, detailed snow cover representations in basins smaller than 10 km2 are possible. Probably the best snow cover mapping sensor for combining reasonably high resolution (250 m) and frequent coverage (daily) is MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), on board both Terra and Aqua platforms, but the choices of sensors or satellites are numerous with most of the data being readily available to users. Comparison of the spatial resolution, observational frequency, feature detection, suitability for snowmelt runoff models and cost will be illustrated using different size sub-basins of the Rio Grande.