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Open AccessArticle

Multi-Source Based Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Snow in a Semi-Arid Headwater Catchment of Northern Mongolia

1
Professorship in Hydrology and Climatology, Department of Geography, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 348, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2
Faculty of Spatial Information, Dresden University of Applied Sciences, Friedrich-List-Platz 1, 01069 Dresden, Germany
3
Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
4
Permafrost Laboratory, Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Mongolian Academy of Science, Erkhuu Street, Sukhbaatar District, Ulaanbaatar UB-14192, Mongolia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9010053
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 19 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Snow and Its Applications)
Knowledge of the duration and distribution of seasonal snow cover is important for understanding the hydrologic regime in mountainous regions within semi-arid climates. In the headwater of the semi-arid Sugnugur catchment (in the Khentii Mountains, northern Mongolia), a spatial analysis of seasonal snow cover duration (SCD) was performed on a 30 m spatial resolution by integrating the spatial resolution of Landsat-7, Landsat-8, and Sentinel-2A images with the daily temporal resolution of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) snow products (2000–2017). Validation was achieved using in situ time series measurements from winter field campaigns and distributed surface temperature loggers. We found a mean increase of SCD with altitude at approximately +6 days/100 m. However, we found no altitude-dependent changes in snow depth during field campaigns. The southern exposed valley slopes are either snow free or covered by intermittent snow throughout the winter months due to high sublimation rates and prevailing wind. The estimated mean SCD ranges from 124 days in the lower parts of the catchment to 226 days on the mountain peaks, with a mean underestimation of 12–13 days. Snow onset and melt dates exhibited large inter-annual variability, but no significant trend in the seasonal SCD was evident. This method can be applied to high-resolution snow mapping in similar mountainous regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow; snow cover duration; persistent and intermittent snow; optical remote sensing; northern Mongolia snow; snow cover duration; persistent and intermittent snow; optical remote sensing; northern Mongolia
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Munkhjargal, M.; Groos, S.; Pan, C.G.; Yadamsuren, G.; Yamkin, J.; Menzel, L. Multi-Source Based Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Snow in a Semi-Arid Headwater Catchment of Northern Mongolia. Geosciences 2019, 9, 53.

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