Investigation on the Uncertainty of Passive Microwave Snow Water Equivalent Estimates
Jiarui Dong, Jeffrey P. Walker, Paul R. Houser, James L. Foster, and Richard Kelly
Recent passive microwave remote sensing snow water equivalent (SWE) products have considered the most important factors from vegetation cover and snow morphology (crystal size) in the derivation of the SWE datasets. However, other sources of uncertainty are still significant due to climate and land surface complexities. The joint analysis of independent meteorological, in-situ SWE measurements, remotely sensed SWE estimates, and land information datasets in Canada provides a unique look at quantifying the uncertainty of satellite estimates from the sources, such as the effects from open water, melt/refreeze, and topography variability. Results show that both open water and air temperature significantly influence the performance of remote sensing SWE retrieval algorithm, and elevation has a little effect. The efforts to introduce time and space varying consideration of air temperature and the fixed effect from distance to water will produce monthly and spatially continuous maps of the uncertainty for satellite SWE products.