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Cloudiness and Snow Cover in Alpine Areas from Modis Products : Volume 11, Issue 4 (10/04/2014)

By Da Ronco, P.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012074
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 49
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Cloudiness and Snow Cover in Alpine Areas from Modis Products : Volume 11, Issue 4 (10/04/2014)  
Author: Da Ronco, P.
Volume: Vol. 11, Issue 4
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Michele, C. D., & Ronco, P. D. (2014). Cloudiness and Snow Cover in Alpine Areas from Modis Products : Volume 11, Issue 4 (10/04/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, Impacts on Soil and Coasts Division, Capua, CE, Italy. Snow cover maps provide an information of great practical interest for hydrologic purposes: when combined with point values of snow water equivalent (SWE), they allow to estimate the regional snow resource. Earth observation satellites are an interesting tool for evaluating large scale snow distribution and extension. In this context, MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometeron on board Terra and Aqua satellites) daily Snow Covered Area product has been widely tested and proved to be appropriate for hydrologic applications. However, within a daily map the presence of cloudiness can hide the ground, thus preventing snow detection.

Here, we considered MODIS binary products for daily snow mapping over Po river basin. Modeling the variability of snow cover duration, distribution and snow water equivalent is a first important step in investigating climate change impacts on the regime of the major Italian river. Ten years (2003–2012) of MOD10A1 and MYD10A1 snow maps have been analyzed and processed with the support of 500 m-resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM). We firstly investigated the issue of cloudiness, highlighting its dependence on altitude and season. Snow maps seem to suffer the influence of overcast conditions mainly in mountain and during the melting season. Such a result is certainly related to satellite crossing times, since cloud coverage over mountains usually increases in the afternoon: however, in Aqua and Terra snow products it highly influences those areas where snow detection is regarded with more interest. In spring, the average percentages of area lying beneath clouds are in the order of 70%, for altitudes over 1000 m a.s.l.

Then, on the basis of previous studies, we proposed a cloud removal procedure and its application to a wide area, characterized by high topographic and geomorphological heterogeneities such as northern Italy. While conceiving the new method, our first target was to preserve the daily temporal resolution of the product. Regional snow and land lines were estimated for detecting snow cover dependence on elevation. In cases when there were not enough information on the same day within the cloud-free areas, we improved a temporal filter with the aim of reproducing the micro-cycles which characterize the transition altitudes, where snow does not stand continually over the entire winter.

In the validation stage, the proposed procedure has been compared against others, showing improvements in the performance for our case study. At the same time it results quite handy both in terms of input data required and computational effort.

Cloudiness and snow cover in Alpine areas from MODIS products

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