Snow water equivalent measurement in the Arctic based on cosmic ray neutron attenuation

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (11) ◽  
pp. 5227-5239
Author(s):  
Anton Jitnikovitch ◽  
Philip Marsh ◽  
Branden Walker ◽  
Darin Desilets

Abstract. Grounded in situ, or invasive, cosmic ray neutron sensors (CRNSs) may allow for continuous, unattended measurements of snow water equivalent (SWE) over complete winter seasons and allow for measurements that are representative of spatially variable Arctic snow covers, but few studies have tested these types of sensors or considered their applicability at remote sites in the Arctic. During the winters of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 we tested a grounded in situ CRNS system at two locations in Canada: a cold, low- to high-SWE environment in the Canadian Arctic and at a warm, low-SWE landscape in southern Ontario that allowed easier access for validation purposes. Five CRNS units were applied in a transect to obtain continuous data for a single significant snow feature; CRNS-moderated neutron counts were compared to manual snow survey SWE values obtained during both winter seasons. The data indicate that grounded in situ CRNS instruments appear able to continuously measure SWE with sufficient accuracy utilizing both a linear regression and nonlinear formulation. These sensors can provide important SWE data for testing snow and hydrological models, water resource management applications, and the validation of remote sensing applications.

2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Anton Jitnikovitch ◽  
Philip Marsh ◽  
Branden Walker ◽  
Darin Desilets

Abstract. The Arctic is warming at two to three times the rate of the global average, significantly impacting snow accumulation and melt. Unfortunately, conventional methods to measure snow water equivalent (SWE), a key aspect of the Arctic snow cover, have numerous limitations that hinder our ability to document annual cycles, the impact of climate change, or to test predictive models. As a result, there is an urgent need for improved methods that measure Arctic SWE; allow for continuous, unmanned measurements over the entire winter; and allow measurements that are representative of spatially variable, Arctic snow covers. In-situ, or invasive, cosmic ray neutron sensors (CRNSs) may fill this observational gap, but few studies have tested these types of sensors or considered their applicability at remote sites in the Arctic. During the winters of 2016/17 and 2017/18 we tested an in-situ CRNS system at two locations in Canada; a cold, low- to high-SWE environment in the Canadian Arctic and at a warm, low-SWE landscape in Southern Ontario that allowed easier access for validation purposes. CRNS moderated neutron counts were compared to manual snow survey SWE values obtained during both winter seasons. Pearson correlation coefficients ranged from −0.89 to −0.98, while regression analyses provided R2 values from 0.79 to 0.96. RMSE of the CRNS-measured SWE averaged 2 mm at the southern Ontario site and ranged from 28 to 40 mm at the Arctic site. These data show that in-situ CRNS instruments are able to continuously measure SWE with sufficient accuracy, and have important applications for measuring SWE in a variety of environments, including remote Arctic locations. These sensors can provide important SWE data for testing snow and hydrological models, water resource management applications, and the validation of remote-sensing applications.


2019 ◽  
Vol 20 (10) ◽  
pp. 2043-2055 ◽  
Author(s):  
Qingyun Bian ◽  
Zhongfeng Xu ◽  
Long Zhao ◽  
Yong-Fei Zhang ◽  
Hui Zheng ◽  
...  

Abstract Snow cover affects the thermal conditions of the Tibetan Plateau through snow–albedo feedback and snowmelt, which, in turn, modulates the Asian summer monsoon climate. An accurate estimation of the snow condition on the Tibetan Plateau is therefore of great importance in both seasonal forecasts and climate studies. Estimation of snow water equivalent (SWE) over the Tibetan Plateau is challenging due to the high altitude, complex terrain, and insufficient in situ observations. Multiple SWE products derived from satellite estimates, reanalyses, regional climate model simulations, and land data assimilations are intercompared in terms of daily, seasonal, and annual variations and are then evaluated against in situ SWE observations. The results show a relatively consistent seasonal to interannual variability of the SWE estimates among the products. The discrepancies in magnitude are large, however, especially in winter and spring. Evaluation against in situ SWE observations indicates that none of these products is capable of accurately characterizing both the spatial pattern and temporal variations.


2019 ◽  
Vol 67 (1) ◽  
pp. 93-100 ◽  
Author(s):  
Vasco Conde ◽  
Giovanni Nico ◽  
Pedro Mateus ◽  
João Catalão ◽  
Anna Kontu ◽  
...  

Abstract In this work we present a methodology for the mapping of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) temporal variations based on the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry technique and Sentinel-1 data. The shift in the interferometric phase caused by the refraction of the microwave signal penetrating the snow layer is isolated and exploited to generate maps of temporal variation of SWE from coherent SAR interferograms. The main advantage of the proposed methodology with respect to those based on the inversion of microwave SAR backscattering models is its simplicity and the reduced number of required in-situ SWE measurements. The maps, updated up to every 6 days, can attain a spatial resolution up to 20 m with sub-centimetre ΔSWE measurement accuracy in any weather and sun illumination condition. We present results obtained using the proposed methodology over a study area in Finland. These results are compared with in-situ measurements of ΔSWE, showing a reasonable match with a mean accuracy of about 6 mm.


2020 ◽  
Vol 24 (10) ◽  
pp. 4887-4902
Author(s):  
Fraser King ◽  
Andre R. Erler ◽  
Steven K. Frey ◽  
Christopher G. Fletcher

Abstract. Snow is a critical contributor to Ontario's water-energy budget, with impacts on water resource management and flood forecasting. Snow water equivalent (SWE) describes the amount of water stored in a snowpack and is important in deriving estimates of snowmelt. However, only a limited number of sparsely distributed snow survey sites (n=383) exist throughout Ontario. The SNOw Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) is a daily, 1 km gridded SWE product that provides uniform spatial coverage across this region; however, we show here that SWE estimates from SNODAS display a strong positive mean bias of 50 % (16 mm SWE) when compared to in situ observations from 2011 to 2018. This study evaluates multiple statistical techniques of varying complexity, including simple subtraction, linear regression and machine learning methods to bias-correct SNODAS SWE estimates using absolute mean bias and RMSE as evaluation criteria. Results show that the random forest (RF) algorithm is most effective at reducing bias in SNODAS SWE, with an absolute mean bias of 0.2 mm and RMSE of 3.64 mm when compared with in situ observations. Other methods, such as mean bias subtraction and linear regression, are somewhat effective at bias reduction; however, only the RF method captures the nonlinearity in the bias and its interannual variability. Applying the RF model to the full spatio-temporal domain shows that the SWE bias is largest before 2015, during the spring melt period, north of 44.5∘ N and east (downwind) of the Great Lakes. As an independent validation, we also compare estimated snowmelt volumes with observed hydrographs and demonstrate that uncorrected SNODAS SWE is associated with unrealistically large volumes at the time of the spring freshet, while bias-corrected SWE values are highly consistent with observed discharge volumes.


2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (4) ◽  
pp. 616
Author(s):  
Rafael Alonso ◽  
José María García del Pozo ◽  
Samuel T. Buisán ◽  
José Adolfo Álvarez

Snow makes a great contribution to the hydrological cycle in cold regions. The parameter to characterize available the water from the snow cover is the well-known snow water equivalent (SWE). This paper presents a near-surface-based radar for determining the SWE from the measured complex spectral reflectance of the snowpack. The method is based in a stepped-frequency continuous wave radar (SFCW), implemented in a coherent software defined radio (SDR), in the range from 150 MHz to 6 GHz. An electromagnetic model to solve the electromagnetic reflectance of a snowpack, including the frequency and wetness dependence of the complex relative dielectric permittivity of snow layers, is shown. Using the previous model, an approximated method to calculate the SWE is proposed. The results are presented and compared with those provided by a cosmic-ray neutron SWE gauge over the 2019–2020 winter in the experimental AEMet Formigal-Sarrios test site. This experimental field is located in the Spanish Pyrenees at an elevation of 1800 m a.s.l. The results suggest the viability of the approximate method. Finally, the feasibility of an auxiliary snow height measurement sensor based on a 120 GHz frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar sensor, is shown.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
J. R. Wallbank ◽  
S. J. Cole ◽  
R. J. Moore ◽  
S. R. Anderson ◽  
E. J. Mellor

2020 ◽  
Author(s):  
Gabriele Schwaizer ◽  
Lars Keuris ◽  
Thomas Nagler ◽  
Chris Derksen ◽  
Kari Luojus ◽  
...  

<p>Seasonal snow is an important component of the global climate system. It is highly variable in space and time and sensitive to short term synoptic scale processes and long term climate-induced changes of temperature and precipitation. Current snow products derived from various satellite data applying different algorithms show significant discrepancies in extent and snow mass, a potential source for biases in climate monitoring and modelling. The recently launched ESA CCI+ Programme addresses seasonal snow as one of 9 Essential Climate Variables to be derived from satellite data.</p><p>In the snow_cci project, scheduled for 2018 to 2021 in its first phase, reliable fully validated processing lines are developed and implemented. These tools are used to generate homogeneous multi-sensor time series for the main parameters of global snow cover focusing on snow extent and snow water equivalent. Using GCOS guidelines, the requirements for these parameters are assessed and consolidated using the outcome of workshops and questionnaires addressing users dealing with different climate applications. Snow extent product generation applies algorithms accounting for fractional snow extent and cloud screening in order to generate consistent daily products for snow on the surface (viewable snow) and snow on the surface corrected for forest masking (snow on ground) with global coverage. Input data are medium resolution optical satellite images (AVHRR-2/3, AATSR, MODIS, VIIRS, SLSTR/OLCI) from 1981 to present. An iterative development cycle is applied including homogenisation of the snow extent products from different sensors by minimizing the bias. Independent validation of the snow products is performed for different seasons and climate zones around the globe from 1985 onwards, using as reference high resolution snow maps from Landsat and Sentinel- 2as well as in-situ snow data following standardized validation protocols.</p><p>Global time series of daily snow water equivalent (SWE) products are generated from passive microwave data from SMMR, SSM/I, and AMSR from 1978 onwards, combined with in-situ snow depth measurements. Long-term stability and quality of the product is assessed using independent snow survey data and by intercomparison with the snow information from global land process models.</p><p>The usability of the snow_cci products is ensured through the Climate Research Group, which performs case studies related to long term trends of seasonal snow, performs evaluations of CMIP-6 and other snow-focused climate model experiments, and applies the data for simulation of Arctic hydrological regimes.</p><p>In this presentation, we summarize the requirements and product specifications for the snow extent and SWE products, with a focus on climate applications. We present an overview of the algorithms and systems for generation of the time series. The 40 years (from 1980 onwards) time series of daily fractional snow extent products from AVHRR with 5 km pixel spacing, and the 20-year time series from MODIS (1 km pixel spacing) as well as the coarse resolution (25 km pixel spacing) of daily SWE products from 1978 onwards will be presented along with first results of the multi-sensor consistency checks and validation activities.</p>


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