Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
Research article 27 Jan 2021
Research article | 27 Jan 2021
Snow depth time series retrieval by time-lapse photography: Finnish and Italian case studies
Marco Bongio et al.
No articles found.
Greta Cazzaniga, Carlo De Michele, Michele D'Amico, Cristina Deidda, Antonio Ghezzi, and Roberto Nebuloni
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Preprint under review for HESSShort summary
Rainfall estimates are usually obtained from rain gauges, weather radars, or satellites. An alternative is the measurement of the signal loss induced by rainfall on commercial microwave links (CMLs). In this work we assess the hydrologic response of Lambro basin, when CML retrieved rainfall is used as input. CML estimates agree with rain gauges data. CML-driven discharge simulations show performances comparable with those from rain gauges, if a CML-based calibration of the model is undertaken.
Fabiola Banfi and Carlo De Michele
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
Climate changes require a dynamic description of glaciers in hydrological models. In this study we focus on the local modeling of snow and firn. We tested our model at the site of Colle Gnifetti, 4400–4550 m a.s.l. The model shows that wind erodes all the precipitation of the cold months, while snow is in part conserved between April and September, since higher temperatures protect snow from erosion. We also compared modeled and observed firn density obtaining a satisfying agreement.
Roberto Villalobos-Herrera, Emanuele Bevacqua, Andreia F. S. Ribeiro, Graeme Auld, Laura Crocetti, Bilyana Mircheva, Minh Ha, Jakob Zscheischler, and Carlo De Michele
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1867–1885,Short summary
Climate hazards may be caused by events which have multiple drivers. Here we present a method to break down climate model biases in hazard indicators down to the bias caused by each driving variable. Using simplified fire and heat stress indicators driven by temperature and relative humidity as examples, we show how multivariate indicators may have complex biases and that the relationship between driving variables is a source of bias that must be considered in climate model bias corrections.
Fabiola Banfi and Carlo De Michele
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Manuscript not accepted for further reviewShort summary
Climate changes require a dynamic description of glaciers in hydrological models. In this study we focus on the local modeling of snow and firn. We tested our model at the site of Colle Gnifetti, 4400–4550 m a.s.l. The model shows that wind erodes all the precipitation of the cold months, while snow is in part conserved between May and September, since higher temperatures protect snow from erosion. We also compared modeled and observed firn density obtaining a satisfying agreement.
Terhikki Manninen, Tuula Aalto, Tiina Markkanen, Mikko Peltoniemi, Kristin Böttcher, Sari Metsämäki, Kati Anttila, Pentti Pirinen, Antti Leppänen, and Ali Nadir Arslan
Biogeosciences, 16, 223–240,Short summary
The surface albedo time series CLARA-A2 SAL was used to study trends in the timing of the melting season of snow and preceding albedo value in Finland during 1982–2016 to assess climate change. The results were in line with operational snow depth data, JSBACH land ecosystem model, SYKE fractional snow cover and greening-up data. In the north a clear trend to earlier snowmelt onset, increasing melting season length, and decrease in pre-melt albedo (related to increased stem volume) was observed.
Katia Cugerone, Carlo De Michele, Antonio Ghezzi, Vorne Gianelle, and Stefania Gilardoni
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 4831–4842,Short summary
The aerosol particle number size distributions (PNSDs) measured in one urban background site (Milan) and in one rural mountainous site (Oga San Colombano) have been studied and compared. Detailed statistical analyses have shown that a common empirical PNSD pattern exists, except for the urban winter data. In order to explain this phenomenon, we analysed the aerosol dynamics by considering the influence of primary aerosol components and the interaction with precipitation and high wind speed.
Mikko Peltoniemi, Mika Aurela, Kristin Böttcher, Pasi Kolari, John Loehr, Jouni Karhu, Maiju Linkosalmi, Cemal Melih Tanis, Juha-Pekka Tuovinen, and Ali Nadir Arslan
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 173–184,Short summary
Monitoring ecosystems using low-cost time lapse cameras has gained wide interest among researchers worldwide. Quantitative information stored in image pixels can be analysed automatically to track time-dependent phenomena, e.g. seasonal course of leaves in the canopies or snow on ground. As such, cameras can provide valuable ground references to earth observation. Here we document the ecosystem camera network we established to Finland and publish time series of images recorded between 2014–2016.
Francesco Avanzi, Alberto Bianchi, Alberto Cina, Carlo De Michele, Paolo Maschio, Diana Pagliari, Daniele Passoni, Livio Pinto, Marco Piras, and Lorenzo Rossi
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript not acceptedShort summary
We compare three different instruments used to collect snow depth, i.e., photogrammetric surveys using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), a 3D laser scanning, and manual probing. The relatively high density of manual data (135 pt over 6700 m2, i.e., 2 pt/100 m2) enables to assess the performance of UAS in capturing the marked spatial variability of snow. Results suggest that UAS represent a competitive choice among existing techniques for high-precision, high-resolution remote sensing of snow.
Maiju Linkosalmi, Mika Aurela, Juha-Pekka Tuovinen, Mikko Peltoniemi, Cemal M. Tanis, Ali N. Arslan, Pasi Kolari, Kristin Böttcher, Tuula Aalto, Juuso Rainne, Juha Hatakka, and Tuomas Laurila
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 5, 417–426,Short summary
Digital photography has become a widely used tool for monitoring the vegetation phenology. The seasonal cycle of the greenness index obtained from photographs correlated well with the CO2 exchange of the plants at our wetland and Scots pine forest sites. While the seasonal changes in the greenness were more obvious for the ecosystem dominated by annual plants, clear seasonal patterns were also observed for the evergreen forest.
Francesco Avanzi, Hiroyuki Hirashima, Satoru Yamaguchi, Takafumi Katsushima, and Carlo De Michele
The Cryosphere, 10, 2013–2026,Short summary
We investigate capillary barriers and preferential flow in layered snow during nine cold laboratory experiments. The dynamics of each sample were replicated solving Richards equation within the 1-D multi-layer physically based SNOWPACK model. Results show that both processes affect the speed of water infiltration in stratified snow and are marked by a high degree of spatial variability at cm scale and complex 3-D patterns.
Carlo De Michele, Francesco Avanzi, Daniele Passoni, Riccardo Barzaghi, Livio Pinto, Paolo Dosso, Antonio Ghezzi, Roberto Gianatti, and Giacomo Della Vedova
The Cryosphere, 10, 511–522,Short summary
We investigate snow depth distribution at peak accumulation over a small Alpine area using photogrammetry-based surveys with a fixed wing unmanned aerial system. Results reveal that UAS estimations of point snow depth present an average difference with reference to manual measurements equal to -0.073 m. Moreover, in this case study snow depth standard deviation (hence coefficient of variation) increases with decreasing cell size, but it stabilizes for resolutions smaller than 1 m.
P. Licznar, C. De Michele, and W. Adamowski
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 485–506,
P. Da Ronco and C. De Michele
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 4579–4600,Short summary
The negative impacts of cloud obstruction in snow mapping from MODIS and a new reliable cloud removal procedure for the Italian Alps.
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Pia Nielsen-Englyst, Jacob L. Høyer, Kristine S. Madsen, Rasmus T. Tonboe, Gorm Dybkjær, and Sotirios Skarpalezos
The Cryosphere, 15, 3035–3057,Short summary
The Arctic region is responding heavily to climate change, and yet, the air temperature of Arctic ice-covered areas is heavily under-sampled when it comes to in situ measurements. This paper presents a method for estimating daily mean 2 m air temperatures (T2m) in the Arctic from satellite observations of skin temperature, providing spatially detailed observations of the Arctic. The satellite-derived T2m product covers clear-sky snow and ice surfaces in the Arctic for the period 2000–2009.
Pinja Venäläinen, Kari Luojus, Juha Lemmetyinen, Jouni Pulliainen, Mikko Moisander, and Matias Takala
The Cryosphere, 15, 2969–2981,Short summary
Information about snow water equivalent (SWE) is needed in many applications, including climate model evaluation and forecasting fresh water availability. Space-borne radiometer observations combined with ground snow depth measurements can be used to make global estimates of SWE. In this study, we investigate the possibility of using sparse snow density measurement in satellite-based SWE retrieval and show that using the snow density information in post-processing improves SWE estimations.
Linlu Mei, Vladimir Rozanov, Christine Pohl, Marco Vountas, and John P. Burrows
The Cryosphere, 15, 2757–2780,Short summary
This paper presents a new snow property retrieval algorithm from satellite observations. This is Part 1 of two companion papers and shows the method description and sensitivity study. The paper investigates the major factors, including the assumptions of snow optical properties, snow particle distribution and atmospheric conditions (cloud and aerosol), impacting snow property retrievals from satellite observation.
Linlu Mei, Vladimir Rozanov, Evelyn Jäkel, Xiao Cheng, Marco Vountas, and John P. Burrows
The Cryosphere, 15, 2781–2802,Short summary
This paper presents a new snow property retrieval algorithm from satellite observations. This is Part 2 of two companion papers and shows the results and validation. The paper performs the new retrieval algorithm on the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) instrument and compares the retrieved snow properties with ground-based measurements, aircraft measurements and other satellite products.
Ahmad Hojatimalekshah, Zachary Uhlmann, Nancy F. Glenn, Christopher A. Hiemstra, Christopher J. Tennant, Jake D. Graham, Lucas Spaete, Arthur Gelvin, Hans-Peter Marshall, James P. McNamara, and Josh Enterkine
The Cryosphere, 15, 2187–2209,Short summary
We describe the relationships between snow depth, vegetation canopy, and local-scale processes during the snow accumulation period using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS). In addition to topography and wind, our findings suggest the importance of fine-scale tree structure, species type, and distributions on snow depth. Snow depth increases from the canopy edge toward the open areas, but wind and topographic controls may affect this trend. TLS data are complementary to wide-area lidar surveys.
Jennifer M. Jacobs, Adam G. Hunsaker, Franklin B. Sullivan, Michael Palace, Elizabeth A. Burakowski, Christina Herrick, and Eunsang Cho
The Cryosphere, 15, 1485–1500,Short summary
This pilot study describes a proof of concept for using lidar on an unpiloted aerial vehicle to map shallow snowpack (< 20 cm) depth in open terrain and forests. The 1 m2 resolution snow depth map, generated by subtracting snow-off from snow-on lidar-derived digital terrain models, consistently had 0.5 to 1 cm precision in the field, with a considerable reduction in accuracy in the forest. Performance depends on the point cloud density and the ground surface variability and vegetation.
Elisabeth D. Hafner, Frank Techel, Silvan Leinss, and Yves Bühler
The Cryosphere, 15, 983–1004,Short summary
Satellites prove to be very valuable for documentation of large-scale avalanche periods. To test reliability and completeness, which has not been satisfactorily verified before, we attempt a full validation of avalanches mapped from two optical sensors and one radar sensor. Our results demonstrate the reliability of high-spatial-resolution optical data for avalanche mapping, the suitability of radar for mapping of larger avalanches and the unsuitability of medium-spatial-resolution optical data.
Xiongxin Xiao, Shunlin Liang, Tao He, Daiqiang Wu, Congyuan Pei, and Jianya Gong
The Cryosphere, 15, 835–861,Short summary
Daily time series and full space-covered sub-pixel snow cover area data are urgently needed for climate and reanalysis studies. Due to the fact that observations from optical satellite sensors are affected by clouds, this study attempts to capture dynamic characteristics of snow cover at a fine spatiotemporal resolution (daily; 6.25 km) accurately by using passive microwave data. We demonstrate the potential to use the passive microwave and the MODIS data to map the fractional snow cover area.
Lucie A. Eberhard, Pascal Sirguey, Aubrey Miller, Mauro Marty, Konrad Schindler, Andreas Stoffel, and Yves Bühler
The Cryosphere, 15, 69–94,Short summary
In spring 2018 in the alpine Dischma valley (Switzerland), we tested different industrial photogrammetric platforms for snow depth mapping. These platforms were high-resolution satellites, an airplane, unmanned aerial systems and a terrestrial system. Therefore, this study gives a general overview of the accuracy and precision of the different photogrammetric platforms available in space and on earth and their use for snow depth mapping.
Maxim Lamare, Marie Dumont, Ghislain Picard, Fanny Larue, François Tuzet, Clément Delcourt, and Laurent Arnaud
The Cryosphere, 14, 3995–4020,Short summary
Terrain features found in mountainous regions introduce large errors into the calculation of the physical properties of snow using optical satellite images. We present a new model performing rapid calculations of solar radiation over snow-covered rugged terrain that we tested over a site in the French Alps. The results of the study show that all the interactions between sunlight and the terrain should be accounted for over snow-covered surfaces to correctly estimate snow properties from space.
Tim Carlsen, Gerit Birnbaum, André Ehrlich, Veit Helm, Evelyn Jäkel, Michael Schäfer, and Manfred Wendisch
The Cryosphere, 14, 3959–3978,Short summary
The angular reflection of solar radiation by snow surfaces is particularly anisotropic and highly variable. We measured the angular reflection from an aircraft using a digital camera in Antarctica in 2013/14 and studied its variability: the anisotropy increases with a lower Sun but decreases for rougher surfaces and larger snow grains. The applied methodology allows for a direct comparison with satellite observations, which generally underestimated the anisotropy measured within this study.
César Deschamps-Berger, Simon Gascoin, Etienne Berthier, Jeffrey Deems, Ethan Gutmann, Amaury Dehecq, David Shean, and Marie Dumont
The Cryosphere, 14, 2925–2940,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.
Phillip Harder, John W. Pomeroy, and Warren D. Helgason
The Cryosphere, 14, 1919–1935,Short summary
Unmanned-aerial-vehicle-based (UAV) structure-from-motion (SfM) techniques have the ability to map snow depths in open areas. Here UAV lidar and SfM are compared to map sub-canopy snowpacks. Snow depth accuracy was assessed with data from sites in western Canada collected in 2019. It is demonstrated that UAV lidar can measure the sub-canopy snow depth at a high accuracy, while UAV-SfM cannot. UAV lidar promises to quantify snow–vegetation interactions at unprecedented accuracy and resolution.
Carlo Marin, Giacomo Bertoldi, Valentina Premier, Mattia Callegari, Christian Brida, Kerstin Hürkamp, Jochen Tschiersch, Marc Zebisch, and Claudia Notarnicola
The Cryosphere, 14, 935–956,Short summary
In this paper, we use for the first time the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) time series acquired by Sentinel-1 to monitor snowmelt dynamics in alpine regions. We found that the multitemporal SAR allows the identification of the three phases that characterize the melting process, i.e., moistening, ripening and runoff, in a spatial distributed way. We believe that the presented investigation could have relevant applications for monitoring and predicting the snowmelt progress over large regions.
Edward H. Bair, Karl Rittger, Jawairia A. Ahmad, and Doug Chabot
The Cryosphere, 14, 331–347,Short summary
Ice and snowmelt feed the Indus River and Amu Darya, but validation of estimates from satellite sensors has been a problem until recently, when we were given daily snow depth measurements from these basins. Using these measurements, estimates of snow on the ground were created and compared with models. Estimates of water equivalent in the snowpack were mostly in agreement. Stratigraphy was also modeled and showed 1 year with a relatively stable snowpack but another with multiple weak layers.
Nick Rutter, Melody J. Sandells, Chris Derksen, Joshua King, Peter Toose, Leanne Wake, Tom Watts, Richard Essery, Alexandre Roy, Alain Royer, Philip Marsh, Chris Larsen, and Matthew Sturm
The Cryosphere, 13, 3045–3059,Short summary
Impact of natural variability in Arctic tundra snow microstructural characteristics on the capacity to estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) from Ku-band radar was assessed. Median values of metrics quantifying snow microstructure adequately characterise differences between snowpack layers. Optimal estimates of SWE required microstructural values slightly less than the measured median but tolerated natural variability for accurate estimation of SWE in shallow snowpacks.
Alexandre R. Bevington, Hunter E. Gleason, Vanessa N. Foord, William C. Floyd, and Hardy P. Griesbauer
The Cryosphere, 13, 2693–2712,Short summary
We investigate the influence of ocean–atmosphere teleconnections on the start, end, and duration of snow cover in British Columbia, Canada. We do this using daily satellite imagery from 2002 to 2018 and assess the accuracy of our methods using reported snow cover at 60 weather stations. We found that there are very strong relationships that vary by region and elevation. This improves our understanding of snow cover distribution and could be used to predict snow cover from ocean–climate indices.
Anne Braakmann-Folgmann and Craig Donlon
The Cryosphere, 13, 2421–2438,Short summary
Snow on sea ice is a fundamental climate variable. We propose a novel approach to estimate snow depth on sea ice from satellite microwave radiometer measurements at several frequencies using neural networks (NNs). We evaluate our results with airborne snow depth measurements and compare them to three other established snow depth algorithms. We show that our NN results agree better with the airborne data than the other algorithms. This is also advantageous for sea ice thickness calculation.
Jie Deng, Tao Che, Cunde Xiao, Shijin Wang, Liyun Dai, and Akynbekkyzy Meerzhan
The Cryosphere, 13, 2149–2167,Short summary
The Chinese ski industry is rapidly booming driven by enormous market demand and government support with the coming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. We evaluate the locational suitability of ski areas in China by integrating the natural and socioeconomic conditions. Corresponding development strategies for decision-makers are proposed based on the multi-criteria metrics, which will be extended to incorporate potential influences from future climate change and socioeconomic development.
Isobel R. Lawrence, Michel C. Tsamados, Julienne C. Stroeve, Thomas W. K. Armitage, and Andy L. Ridout
The Cryosphere, 12, 3551–3564,Short summary
In this paper we estimate the thickness of snow cover on Arctic sea ice from space. We use data from two radar altimeter satellites, AltiKa and CryoSat-2, that have been operating synchronously since 2013. We produce maps of monthly average snow depth for the four growth seasons (October to April): 2012–2013, 2013–2014, 2014–2015, and 2015–2016. Snow depth estimates are essential for the accurate retrieval of sea ice thickness from satellite altimetry.
Richard Fernandes, Christian Prevost, Francis Canisius, Sylvain G. Leblanc, Matt Maloley, Sarah Oakes, Kiyomi Holman, and Anders Knudby
The Cryosphere, 12, 3535–3550,Short summary
The use of lightweight UAV-based surveys of surface elevation to map snow depth and weekly snow depth change was evaluated over five study areas spanning a range of topography and vegetation cover. Snow depth was estimated with an accuracy of better than 10 cm in the vertical and 3 cm in the horizontal. Vegetation in the snow-free elevation map was a major source of error. As a result, the snow depth change between two dates with snow cover was estimated with an accuracy of better than 4 cm.
Todd A. N. Redpath, Pascal Sirguey, and Nicolas J. Cullen
The Cryosphere, 12, 3477–3497,Short summary
A remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) is evaluated for mapping seasonal snow depth across an alpine basin. RPAS photogrammetry performs well at providing maps of snow depth at high spatial resolution, outperforming field measurements for resolving spatial variability. Uncertainty and error analysis reveal limitations and potential pitfalls of photogrammetric surface-change analysis. Ultimately, RPAS can be a useful tool for understanding snow processes and improving snow modelling efforts.
Alexander Kokhanovsky, Maxim Lamare, Biagio Di Mauro, Ghislain Picard, Laurent Arnaud, Marie Dumont, François Tuzet, Carsten Brockmann, and Jason E. Box
The Cryosphere, 12, 2371–2382,Short summary
This work presents a new technique with which to derive the snow microphysical and optical properties from snow spectral reflectance measurements. The technique is robust and easy to use, and it does not require the extraction of snow samples from a given snowpack. It can be used in processing satellite imagery over extended fresh dry, wet and polluted snowfields.
Stefan Härer, Matthias Bernhardt, Matthias Siebers, and Karsten Schulz
The Cryosphere, 12, 1629–1642,Short summary
The paper presents an approach which can be used to process satellite-based snow cover maps with a higher-than-today accuracy at the local scale. Many of the current satellite-based snow maps are using the NDSI with a threshold as a tool for deciding if there is snow on the ground or not. The presented study has shown that, firstly, using the standard threshold of 0.4 can result in significant derivations at the local scale and that, secondly, the deviations become smaller for coarser scales.
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The capability of time-lapse photography to retrieve snow depth time series was tested. We demonstrated that this method can be efficiently used in three different case studies: two in the Italian Alps and one in a forested region of Finland, with an accuracy comparable to the most common methods such as ultrasonic sensors or manual measurements. We hope that this simple method based only on a camera and a graduated stake can enable snow depth measurements in dangerous and inaccessible sites.
The capability of time-lapse photography to retrieve snow depth time series was tested. We...