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Article

Seasonal Estimates and Uncertainties of Snow Accumulation from CloudSat Precipitation Retrievals

1
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91001, USA
2
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Nashville, TN 37235, USA
3
Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jorge F. Carrasco
Atmosphere 2021, 12(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030363
Received: 22 January 2021 / Revised: 28 February 2021 / Accepted: 1 March 2021 / Published: 10 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Measuring Snow Processes across Scales)
CloudSat is often the only measurement of snowfall rate available at high latitudes, making it a valuable tool for understanding snow climatology. The capability of CloudSat to provide information on seasonal and subseasonal time scales, however, has yet to be explored. In this study, we use subsampled reanalysis estimates to predict the uncertainties of CloudSat snow water equivalent (SWE) accumulation measurements at various space and time resolutions. An idealized/simulated subsampling model predicts that CloudSat may provide seasonal SWE estimates with median percent errors below 50% at spatial scales as small as 2° × 2°. By converting these predictions to percent differences, we can evaluate CloudSat snowfall accumulations against a blend of gridded SWE measurements during frozen time periods. Our predictions are in good agreement with results. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of the percent differences between the two measurements all match predicted values within eight percentage points. We interpret these results to suggest that CloudSat snowfall estimates are in sufficient agreement with other, thoroughly vetted, gridded SWE products. This implies that CloudSat may provide useful estimates of snow accumulation over remote regions within seasonal time scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow; accumulation; SWE; CloudSat; precipitation; hydrology; retrieval; evaluation snow; accumulation; SWE; CloudSat; precipitation; hydrology; retrieval; evaluation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Duffy, G.; King, F.; Bennartz, R.; Fletcher, C.G. Seasonal Estimates and Uncertainties of Snow Accumulation from CloudSat Precipitation Retrievals. Atmosphere 2021, 12, 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030363

AMA Style

Duffy G, King F, Bennartz R, Fletcher CG. Seasonal Estimates and Uncertainties of Snow Accumulation from CloudSat Precipitation Retrievals. Atmosphere. 2021; 12(3):363. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030363

Chicago/Turabian Style

Duffy, George, Fraser King, Ralf Bennartz, and Christopher G. Fletcher 2021. "Seasonal Estimates and Uncertainties of Snow Accumulation from CloudSat Precipitation Retrievals" Atmosphere 12, no. 3: 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030363

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