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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(4), 1568-1587; doi:10.3390/rs5041568

Snow Cover Maps from MODIS Images at 250 m Resolution, Part 2: Validation

1,* , 1
1 Institute for Applied Remote Sensing, European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), Viale Druso 1, I-39100 Bolzano, Italy 2 Department of Geography, Glaciology, Geomorphodynamics and Geochronology, University of Zürich-Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland 3 Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O.Box 1047, Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway Current address: South Tyrol Healthcare Company, Via del Ronco 3, I-39100 Bolzano, Italy;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 20 March 2013 / Accepted: 20 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
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The performance of a new algorithm for binary snow cover monitoring based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images at 250 m resolution is validated using snow cover maps (SCA) based on Landsat 7 ETM+ images and in situ snow depth measurements from ground stations in selected test sites in Central Europe. The advantages of the proposed algorithm are the improved ground resolution of 250 m and the near real-time availability with respect to the 500 m standard National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) MODIS snow products (MOD10 and MYD10). It allows a more accurate snow cover monitoring at a local scale, especially in mountainous areas characterized by large landscape heterogeneity. The near real-time delivery makes the product valuable as input for hydrological models, e.g., for flood forecast. A comparison to sixteen snow cover maps derived from Landsat ETM/ETM+ showed an overall accuracy of 88.1%, which increases to 93.6% in areas outside of forests. A comparison of the SCA derived from the proposed algorithm with standard MODIS products, MYD10 and MOD10, indicates an agreement of around 85.4% with major discrepancies in forested areas. The validation of MODIS snow cover maps with 148 in situ snow depth measurements shows an accuracy ranging from 94% to around 82%, where the lowest accuracies is found in very rugged terrain restricted to in situ stations along north facing slopes, which lie in shadow in winter during the early morning acquisition.
Keywords: MODIS; snow; snow covered area; Landsat; in situ snow depth MODIS; snow; snow covered area; Landsat; in situ snow depth
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Notarnicola, C.; Duguay, M.; Moelg, N.; Schellenberger, T.; Tetzlaff, A.; Monsorno, R.; Costa, A.; Steurer, C.; Zebisch, M. Snow Cover Maps from MODIS Images at 250 m Resolution, Part 2: Validation. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 1568-1587.

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