Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
Research article
24 Oct 2016
Research article |  | 24 Oct 2016

Spatiotemporal dynamics of snow cover based on multi-source remote sensing data in China

Xiaodong Huang, Jie Deng, Xiaofang Ma, Yunlong Wang, Qisheng Feng, Xiaohua Hao, and Tiangang Liang

Abstract. By combining optical remote sensing snow cover products with passive microwave remote sensing snow depth (SD) data, we produced a MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) cloudless binary snow cover product and a 500 m snow depth product. The temporal and spatial variations of snow cover from December 2000 to November 2014 in China were analyzed. The results indicate that, over the past 14 years, (1) the mean snow-covered area (SCA) in China was 11.3 % annually and 27 % in the winter season, with the mean SCA decreasing in summer and winter seasons, increasing in spring and fall seasons, and not much change annually; (2) the snow-covered days (SCDs) showed an increase in winter, spring, and fall, and annually, whereas they showed a decrease in summer; (3) the average SD decreased in winter, summer, and fall, while it increased in spring and annually; (4) the spatial distributions of SD and SCD were highly correlated seasonally and annually; and (5) the regional differences in the variation of snow cover in China were significant. Overall, the SCD and SD increased significantly in south and northeast China, and decreased significantly in the north of Xinjiang province. The SCD and SD increased on the southwest edge and in the southeast part of the Tibetan Plateau, whereas it decreased in the north and northwest regions.

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Short summary
Integrated snow products were used to analyze the temporal and spatial variation of the snow cover in China during 2000–2014. The results indicated that the overall annual number of snow-covered days and average snow depth in China have increased in the past 14 years, but differences in the snow cover variation in China were significant. Overall, the snow cover increased significantly in south and northeast China, but decreased significantly in Xinjiang and the Tibetan Plateau.