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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(1), 169-194;

Spatio-Temporal Change of Snow Cover and Its Response to Climate over the Tibetan Plateau Based on an Improved Daily Cloud-Free Snow Cover Product

State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystems, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730020, China
Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and educing Disaster of Gansu Province, Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou 730020, China
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alfredo R. Huete and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
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Using new, daily cloud-free snow-cover products, this study examines snow cover dynamics and their response to climate change. The results demonstrate that the daily cloud-free snow-cover products not only posses the advantages of the AMSR-E (unaffected by weather conditions) and MODIS (relatively higher resolution) products, but are also characterized by high snow and overall classification accuracies (~85% and ~98%, respectively), substantially greater than those of the existing daily snow-cover products for all sky conditions and very similar to, or even slightly greater than, those of the daily MODIS products for clear-sky conditions. Using the snow-cover products, we analyzed the snow cover dynamics over the Tibetan Plateau and determined that the maximum number of snow-covered days (SCD) in a year followed a decreasing tendency from 2003 to 2010, with a decrease in snow-covered area (SCA) equivalent to 55.3% of the total Tibetan Plateau area. There is also a slightly increasing tendency in the maximum snow cover area (SCA), and a slightly decreasing tendency in the persistent snow cover area (i.e., pixels of SCD > 350 days) was observed for the 8-year period, which was characterized by increases in temperature (0.09 °C/year) and in precipitation (0.26 mm/year). This suggests that, on the Tibetan Plateau, changes in temperature and precipitation exert a considerable influence on the regional SCD and SCA, as well as the distribution of persistent snow cover. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow cover; MODIS; climate change; Tibetan Plateau snow cover; MODIS; climate change; Tibetan Plateau

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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, W.; Huang, X.; Deng, J.; Xie, H.; Liang, T. Spatio-Temporal Change of Snow Cover and Its Response to Climate over the Tibetan Plateau Based on an Improved Daily Cloud-Free Snow Cover Product. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 169-194.

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