One of the major challenges in determining snow depth (SD) from passive microwave measurements is to take into account the spatiotemporal variations of the snow grain size. Static algorithms based on a constant snow grain size cannot provide accurate estimates of snow pack thickness, particularly over large regions where the snow pack is subjected to big spatial temperature variations. A recent dynamic algorithm that accounts for the dependence of the microwave scattering on the snow grain size has been developed to estimate snow depth from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) over the Northern Great Plains (NGP) in the US. In this paper, we develop a combined dynamic and static algorithm to estimate snow depth from 13 years of SSM/I observations over Central Siberia. This region is characterised by extremely cold surface air temperatures and by the presence of permafrost that significantly affects the ground temperature. The dynamic algorithm is implemented to take into account these effects and it yields accurate snow depths early in the winter, when thin snowpacks combine with cold air temperatures to generate rapid crystal growth. However, it is not applicable later in the winter when the grain size growth slows. Combining the dynamic algorithm to a static algorithm, with a temporally constant but spatially varying coefficient, we obtain reasonable snow depth estimates throughout the entire snow season. Validation is carried out by comparing the satellite snow depth monthly averages to monthly climatological data. We show that the location of the snow depth maxima and minima is improved when applying the combined algorithm, since its dynamic portion explicitly incorporate the thermal gradient through the snowpack. The results obtained are presented and evaluated for five different vegetation zones of Central Siberia. Comparison with in situ measurements is also shown and discussed. ?? 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Siberia snow depth climatology derived from SSM/I data using a combined dynamic and static algorithm