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Daily estimates of Landsat fractional snow cover driven by MODIS and dynamic time-warping


Ethan E. Berman, Douglas K. Bolton, Nicholas C. Coops, Zoltan K. Mityok, Gordon B. Stenhouse, R.D. (Dan) Moore. "Daily estimates of Landsat fractional snow cover driven by MODIS and dynamic time-warping." Remote Sensing of Environment. 216: 635-646. 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.07.029


Understanding seasonal snow cover dynamics is critical for management of hydrological regimes, habitat availability for wildlife species, forest fire risk assessment and recreational demands. Although data products provided at 500 m spatial resolution by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor provide important and readily available information on snow cover, capturing snow dynamics at finer spatial resolutions remains problematic due to the lack of high temporal and spatial resolution data, which limits the number of available observations each year. In this paper we present a new approach to create a daily time-series of 30-m snow observations (called SNOWARP), derived from daily MODIS Normalised Difference Snow Index (NDSI) snow cover data to capture the temporal dynamics of snow cover and Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) to re-order historical Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Operational Land Imager (OLI) observations to account for inter-annual variability. The SNOWARP product was produced for 2000–2018 for an area of Western Alberta (approximately 30,000 km2) and was calibrated against a network of time-lapse cameras and snow pillows. Results indicate the RMSE of the SNOWARP fractional product ranges from 31.3%–68.3%, while F score of the SNOWARP binary product ranges from 87.7% - 98.6% when compared to ground truth data. Capturing fractional snow cover at a fine spatial and temporal scale is important due to the spatial heterogeneity of snow cover, particularly in mountainous regions with implications for biodiversity assessment and monitoring. SNOWARP demonstrates a novel method to increasing the temporal resolution of Landsat-derived snow cover data, providing valuable insights on regional snow cover dynamics for use in a range of applications.

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