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Remote Sens. 2009, 1(4), 1097-1107; doi:10.3390/rs1041097
Article

A Simple Method to Determine the Timing of Snow Melt by Remote Sensing with Application to the CO2 Balances of Northern Mire and Heath Ecosystems

1,* , 2
 and
3
1 Department of Physics, PL 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland 2 Finnish Meteorological Institute, Climate Change Research, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland 3 Finnish Meteorological Institute, Earth Observation, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 September 2009 / Revised: 9 November 2009 / Accepted: 16 November 2009 / Published: 19 November 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Status and Change by Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

The timing of the disappearance of the snow cover in spring, or snow melt day (SMD), is a key parameter controlling the carbon dioxide balance between the northern mire and heath ecosystems and the atmosphere. We present a simple method for the determination of the SMD using a satellite-based surface albedo product (SAL). The method is based on the local change of albedo from higher wintertime values towards the lower summertime values. The satellite SMD timing correlates well with the SMD determined from snow depth measurements at Finnish weather stations (r = 0.86, slope 1.05). In 50% of the cases the error was 3.4 days or less and bias less than half a day. This would lead to a moderate uncertainty in the annual CO2 balance of mire and heath ecosystems, if the published SMD—CO2 balance relations are valid. However, due to the limited data sets available a systematic validation is left for the future.
Keywords: snow melt; CO2 balance; northern mire and heath ecosystems; remote sensing snow melt; CO2 balance; northern mire and heath ecosystems; remote sensing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rinne, J.; Aurela, M.; Manninen, T. A Simple Method to Determine the Timing of Snow Melt by Remote Sensing with Application to the CO2 Balances of Northern Mire and Heath Ecosystems. Remote Sens. 2009, 1, 1097-1107.

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