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Testing snow water equivalent retrieval algorithms for passive microwave remote sensing

Summary: Testing snow water equivalent retrieval
algorithms for passive microwave remote sensing
in an alpine watershed of western Canada
Jinjun Tong, Stephen J. De´ ry, Peter L. Jackson, and Chris Derksen
Abstract. Brightness temperatures (TBs) from the special sensor microwave imager (SSM/I) and advanced microwave
scanning radiometer (AMSR-E) from 2003 to 2007 are utilized to retrieve and evaluate the snow water equivalent (SWE)
over the complex terrain of the Quesnel River Basin (QRB), British Columbia, Canada. Various algorithms including the
Environment Canada (EC) algorithms, the spectral polarization difference (SPD) algorithm, and an artificial neural
network (ANN) for both SSM/I and AMSR-E are evaluated against in situ SWE observations using several statistical
metrics. The results show that the EC algorithms developed specifically for the southern prairies and boreal forest
perform poorly across the complex topography and generally deep snow of the QRB. For other frequency combinations
of SSM/I and AMSR-E measurements, significant relationships between TB difference and in situ SWE exist only when
the snow accumulation is less than a threshold of 250 or 400 mm, which varies at the different in situ stations. Overall,
AMSR-E provides better estimates of retrieved SWE than SSM/I. Compared to the algorithms based on TB difference,
the ANNs for SSM/I and AMSR-E perform much better. The ANNs trained with all channels of AMSR-E have the best
performance in fitting SWE and are able to resolve the temporal variations of SWE at all in situ stations. However, due to
the complexity of the topography and vegetation in this mountainous watershed, the ANNs based only on limited in situ
stations are not able to retrieve the spatial variations of SWE in this area.
Re´sume´. Les tempe´ratures de radiance des capteurs « Special Sensor Microwave Imager » (SSM/I) et « Advanced
Microwave Scanning Radiometer » (AMSR-E) de 2003 a` 2007 sont utilise´es pour estimer et e´valuer l'e´paisseur


Source: Aukema, Brian - ukema, Brian - Canadian Forest Service & Ecosystem Science and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia
Dery, Stephen - Environmental Science and Engineering Program, University of Northern British Columbia


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geosciences