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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Snow cover variation over the Tibetan Plateau from MODIS and comparison with ground observations
Author(s): Chu Duo; Hongjie Xie; Pengxiang Wang; Jianping Guo; Jia La; Yubao Qiu; Zhaojun Zheng

Paper Abstract

A temporal variation and spatial distribution of the snow-covered area (SCA) over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are analyzed using moderate-resolution imaging spectrometer (MODIS)/Terra 8-day snow cover products (MOD10A2) from 2001 to 2013 and the SCA is compared with in situ snow cover days (SCD) from the meteorological network in the TP. Results show that at monthly levels the minimum SCA occurs in July, followed by August, and the SCA increases rapidly from September, reaching the maximum in March; on average, 2002, 2005, and 2008 are snowy years, whereas 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2010 are less-snow years. Apart from strong seasonal variations, the general trend of interannual snow cover variations from 2001 to 2013 is not obvious, remaining at a relatively stable status. The snow cover over the TP is characterized by uneven geographic distribution. In general, snow is abundant with a long duration in the high mountains while it is less abundant and with a short duration in the vast interior of the TP. The interannual variations of snow cover over the TP from ground-based meteorological stations using SCD are very consistent with MODIS SCA, with a correlation coefficient of 0.80 (P<0.01 ), indicating that MOD10A2 data have high accuracy to capture and monitor spatiotemporal variations of snow cover over the TP.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 June 2014
PDF: 13 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 8(1) 084690 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.8.084690
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 8, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Chu Duo, Lhasa Campus of Institute of Plateau Meteorology (China)
Tibet Institute of Plateau Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (China)
Hongjie Xie, The Univ. of Texas at San Antonio (United States)
Pengxiang Wang, Tibet Meteorological Bureau (China)
Jianping Guo, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences (China)
Jia La, Tibet Weather Observatory (China)
Yubao Qiu, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (China)
Zhaojun Zheng, National Satellite Meteorological Ctr. (China)


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