Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
Research article
10 Sep 2020
Research article |  | 10 Sep 2020

Snow depth mapping from stereo satellite imagery in mountainous terrain: evaluation using airborne laser-scanning data

César Deschamps-Berger, Simon Gascoin, Etienne Berthier, Jeffrey Deems, Ethan Gutmann, Amaury Dehecq, David Shean, and Marie Dumont

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Cited articles

Anderson, S. W.: Uncertainty in quantitative analyses of topographic change: error propagation and the role of thresholding, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 1033, 1015–1033, 2019. 
Bagnardi, M., González, P. J., and Hooper, A.: High-resolution digital elevation model from tri-stereo Pleiades-1 satellite imagery for lava flow volume estimates at Fogo Volcano, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 6267–6275,, 2016. 
Berthier, E., Arnaud, Y., Kumar, R., Ahmad, S., Wagnon, P., and Chevallier P.: Remote sensing estimates of glacier mass balances in the Himachal Pradesh (Western Himalaya, India), Remote Sens. Environ., 108, 327–338,, 2007. 
Berthier, E., Vincent, C., Magnússon, E., Gunnlaugsson, Á. Þ., Pitte, P., Le Meur, E., Masiokas, M., Ruiz, L., Pálsson, F., Belart, J. M. C., and Wagnon, P.: Glacier topography and elevation changes derived from Pléiades sub-meter stereo images, The Cryosphere, 8, 2275–2291,, 2014. 
Berthier, E., Cabot, V., Vincent, C., and Six, D.: Decadal Region-Wide and Glacier-Wide Mass Balances Derived from Multi-Temporal ASTER Satellite Digital Elevation Models. Validation over the Mont-Blanc Area, Front. Earth Sci., 4, 1–16,, 2016. 

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Short summary
We evaluate a recent method to map snow depth based on satellite photogrammetry. We compare it with accurate airborne laser-scanning measurements in the Sierra Nevada, USA. We find that satellite data capture the relationship between snow depth and elevation at the catchment scale and also small-scale features like snow drifts and avalanche deposits. We conclude that satellite photogrammetry stands out as a convenient method to estimate the spatial distribution of snow depth in high mountains.