We evaluated the contribution of Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) passive-microwave data to the monitoring of spatial and temporal variability of snow cover in the Churchill area, Manitoba, Canada. Because of the coarse spatial resolution of current passive-microwave sensors, the estimation of snow water equivalent using empirical equations with these instruments is largely compromised in complex areas such as Churchill (forest tundra ecotone). However, with its high frequency of observations and the availability of a long time series (1988-99), passive-microwave data from the SSM/I radiometer remain a very valuable tool for monitoring the temporal evolution of snow cover at various spatial scales. Through winter 1997/98, we first examined the passive-microwave signatures at the local scale and we identified the major stages of the snow period. Principal-component analysis (PCA) applied on spectral-difference (Tb(19H) - Tb(37H)) time series (1988-99) enabled us to identify spatio-temporal effects over a large area. PCA also permitted the extraction of indices of relevance for monitoring climatic variability and climate change (annual snow-cover duration, dates of snow-cover appearance and disappearance).
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Annals of Glaciology|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|