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Title: Mapping snow depth within a tundra ecosystem using multiscale observations and Bayesian methods

This paper compares and integrates different strategies to characterize the variability of end-of-winter snow depth and its relationship to topography in ice-wedge polygon tundra of Arctic Alaska. Snow depth was measured using in situ snow depth probes and estimated using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys and the photogrammetric detection and ranging (phodar) technique with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). We found that GPR data provided high-precision estimates of snow depth (RMSE=2.9cm), with a spatial sampling of 10cm along transects. Phodar-based approaches provided snow depth estimates in a less laborious manner compared to GPR and probing, while yielding a high precision (RMSE=6.0cm) and a fine spatial sampling (4cm×4cm). We then investigated the spatial variability of snow depth and its correlation to micro- and macrotopography using the snow-free lidar digital elevation map (DEM) and the wavelet approach. We found that the end-of-winter snow depth was highly variable over short (several meter) distances, and the variability was correlated with microtopography. Microtopographic lows (i.e., troughs and centers of low-centered polygons) were filled in with snow, which resulted in a smooth and even snow surface following macrotopography. We developed and implemented a Bayesian approach to integrate the snow-free lidar DEM and multiscale measurements (probe and GPR) asmore » well as the topographic correlation for estimating snow depth over the landscape. Our approach led to high-precision estimates of snow depth (RMSE=6.0cm), at 0.5m resolution and over the lidar domain (750m×700m).« less
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  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Cryosphere (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Cryosphere (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1994-0424
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: