Improving snow cover mapping in forests through the use of a canopy reflectance model Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • MODIS, the moderate resolution mapping imaging spectroradiometer, will be launched in 1998 as part of the first earth observing system (EOS) platform. Global maps of land surface properties, including snow cover, will be created from MODIS imagery. The MODIS snow-cover mapping algorithm that will be used to product daily maps of global snow cover extent at 500 m resolution is currently under development. With the exception of cloud cover, the largest limitation to producing a global daily snow cover product using MODIS is the presence of a forest canopy. A Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) time-series of the southern Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) study area in Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, was used to evaluate the performance of the current MODIS snow-cover mapping algorithm in varying forest types. A snow reflectance model was used in conjunction with a canopy reflectance model (GeoSAIL) to model the reflectance of a snow-covered forest stand. Using these coupled models, the effects of varying forest type, canopy density, snow grain size and solar illumination geometry on the performance of the MODIS snow-cover mapping algorithm were investigated. Using both the TM images and the reflectance models, two changes to the current MODIS snow-cover mapping algorithm are proposed that will improve the algorithm's classification accuracy in forested areas. The improvements include using the normalized difference snow index and normalized difference vegetation index in combination to discriminate better between snow-covered and snow-free forests. A minimum albedo threshold of 10% in the visible wavelengths is also proposed. This will prevent dense forests with very low visible albedos from being classified incorrectly as snow. These two changes increase the amount of snow mapped in forests on snow-covered TM scenes, and decrease the area incorrectly identified as snow on non-snow-covered TM scenes.

published proceedings

  • Hydrological Processes

author list (cited authors)

  • Klein, A. G., Hall, D. K., & Riggs, G. A

citation count

  • 240

complete list of authors

  • Klein, Andrew G||Hall, Dorothy K||Riggs, George A

publication date

  • August 1998

publisher