Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 7, 841–854, 2013
The Cryosphere, 7, 841–854, 2013

Research article 14 May 2013

Research article | 14 May 2013

Snow cover thickness estimation using radial basis function networks

E. Binaghi, V. Pedoia, A. Guidali, and M. Guglielmin E. Binaghi et al.
  • Dipartimento di Scienze Teoriche e Applicate University of Insubria Via Mazzini 5, 21100 Varese, Italy

Abstract. This paper reports an experimental study designed for the in-depth investigation of how the radial basis function network (RBFN) estimates snow cover thickness as a function of climate and topographic parameters. The estimation problem is modeled in terms of both function regression and classification, obtaining continuous and discrete thickness values, respectively. The model is based on a minimal set of climatic and topographic data collected from a limited number of stations located in the Italian Central Alps. Several experiments have been conceived and conducted adopting different evaluation indexes. A comparison analysis was also developed for a quantitative evaluation of the advantages of the RBFN method over to conventional widely used spatial interpolation techniques when dealing with critical situations originated by lack of data and limited n-homogeneously distributed instrumented sites. The RBFN model proved competitive behavior and a valuable tool in critical situations in which conventional techniques suffer from a lack of representative data.