Snow, as a fundamental reservoir of freshwater, is a crucial natural resource. Specifically, knowledge of snow density spatial and temporal variability could improve modelling of snow water equivalent, which is relevant for managing freshwater resources in context of ongoing climate change. The possibility of estimating snow density from remote sensing has great potential, considering the availability of satellite data and their ability to generate efficient monitoring systems from space. In this study, we present an innovative method that combines meteorological parameters, satellite data and field snow measurements to estimate thermal inertia of snow and snow density at a catchment scale. Thermal inertia represents the responsiveness of a material to variations in temperature and depends on the thermal conductivity, density and specific heat of the medium. By exploiting Landsat 8 data and meteorological modelling, we generated multitemporal thermal inertia maps in mountainous catchments in the Western European Alps (Aosta Valley, Italy), from incoming shortwave radiation, surface temperature and snow albedo. Thermal inertia was then used to develop an empirical regression model to infer snow density, demonstrating the possibility of mapping snow density from optical and thermal observations from space. The model allows for estimation of snow density with R2CV and RMSECV of 0.59 and 82 kg m−3, respectively. Thermal inertia and snow density maps are presented in terms of the evolution of snow cover throughout the hydrological season and in terms of their spatial variability in complex topography. This study could be considered a first attempt at using thermal inertia toward improved monitoring of the cryosphere. Limitations of and improvements to the proposed methods are also discussed. This study may also help in defining the scientific requirements for new satellite missions targeting the cryosphere. We believe that a new class of Earth Observation missions with the ability to observe the Earth's surface at high spatial and temporal resolution, with both day and night-time overpasses in both optical and thermal domain, would be beneficial for the monitoring of seasonal snowpacks around the globe.

Colombo R., Pennati G., Pozzi G., Garzonio R., Di Mauro B., Giardino C., et al. (2023). Mapping snow density through thermal inertia observations. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 284 [10.1016/j.rse.2022.113323].

Mapping snow density through thermal inertia observations

Maltese A.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Snow, as a fundamental reservoir of freshwater, is a crucial natural resource. Specifically, knowledge of snow density spatial and temporal variability could improve modelling of snow water equivalent, which is relevant for managing freshwater resources in context of ongoing climate change. The possibility of estimating snow density from remote sensing has great potential, considering the availability of satellite data and their ability to generate efficient monitoring systems from space. In this study, we present an innovative method that combines meteorological parameters, satellite data and field snow measurements to estimate thermal inertia of snow and snow density at a catchment scale. Thermal inertia represents the responsiveness of a material to variations in temperature and depends on the thermal conductivity, density and specific heat of the medium. By exploiting Landsat 8 data and meteorological modelling, we generated multitemporal thermal inertia maps in mountainous catchments in the Western European Alps (Aosta Valley, Italy), from incoming shortwave radiation, surface temperature and snow albedo. Thermal inertia was then used to develop an empirical regression model to infer snow density, demonstrating the possibility of mapping snow density from optical and thermal observations from space. The model allows for estimation of snow density with R2CV and RMSECV of 0.59 and 82 kg m−3, respectively. Thermal inertia and snow density maps are presented in terms of the evolution of snow cover throughout the hydrological season and in terms of their spatial variability in complex topography. This study could be considered a first attempt at using thermal inertia toward improved monitoring of the cryosphere. Limitations of and improvements to the proposed methods are also discussed. This study may also help in defining the scientific requirements for new satellite missions targeting the cryosphere. We believe that a new class of Earth Observation missions with the ability to observe the Earth's surface at high spatial and temporal resolution, with both day and night-time overpasses in both optical and thermal domain, would be beneficial for the monitoring of seasonal snowpacks around the globe.
Settore ICAR/06 - Topografia E Cartografia
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425722004291
Colombo R., Pennati G., Pozzi G., Garzonio R., Di Mauro B., Giardino C., et al. (2023). Mapping snow density through thermal inertia observations. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 284 [10.1016/j.rse.2022.113323].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/578152
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