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Remote Sensing Based Monitoring and Assessment of Snow Cover

Khun San Aung, kaung@icimod.org

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development


Kathmandu, Nepal

National Training Course on "Remote Sensing based Monitoring and Assessment of Cryosphere - Snow and Glaciers ICIMOD, Nepal 17 October, 2011

Outline
1. 2. Introduction MODIS
1. 2. MODIS Spectral Band MODIS Snow Products Snow Cover Monitoring System at ICIMOD Combining MODIS snow products Cloud Removal by Temporal Filtering Cloud Removal by Spatial Filtering Cloud Removal by Temporal Analysis Estimating Snow Cover Area Trend Analysis Decadal Change Analysis Seasonal variation, Monthly variation, Inter-annual variation, Intra-annual variation Altitude-wise, slope-wise, aspect-wise snow cover variation

3.

Methods & Tools


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

4.

Analysis & Output


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

5. 6.

Cryosphere Portal Conclusion

Introduction

The term kryos after which cryosphere is used to collectively describe the portions of the Earths surface where water is in a solid form (sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, and permafrost). Snow cover has the largest areal extent of any component of the cryosphere (mean maximum areal extent of approximately 47 million km2). Most of the Earths snow covered area (SCA) is located in the Northern Hemisphere and temporal variability is dominated by the seasonal cycle; 46.5 million km2 in January to 3.8 million km2 in August It is an integral part of the global climate system with important linkages and feedbacks generated through its influence on surface energy and moisture fluxes, clouds, precipitation, hydrology, and atmospheric and oceanic circulation.

Introduction (continued)

The cryosphere plays a significant role in global climate and in climate model response to global change. It is also a major source for river system in mountain and water for people. The recent changes in hydrological regimes in major river system due to alteration of SCA as a result of global warming have become a serious concern. This is expected to have direct consequences on water availability situation which will have influence across different eco-system services. In the backdrop of climate change, it is vital to have an accurate and longterm database established on snow-extent variability to understand through modeling, the influence of climate change on water availability scenario.

Introduction
- Cryosphere work in ICIMOD
There was a need in monitoring of cryosphere with use of EO and RS tool in a regional framework. ICIMOD has taken up the role and to function as the regional cryosphere data hub. 2009-2010, Too much too little water - project (funded by the Sida Swedish International Development Agency). April-2009, Regional Consultative Workshop on Remote Sensing of Cryosphere. A customized methodology has been developed to for snow & glacier mapping & monitoring. A regional snow & glacier database covering 10 major river basins has been established in ICIMOD. A capacity building training has been conducted (in ICIMOD, Youth Forum, October 2010, in Pakistan April 2011). 2011- current, Cryosphere studies and Capacity Building project (funded by Norwegian government).

MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging


Spectroradiometer)
MODIS is an instrument onboard of Terra and Aqua Satellite Orbit: 705 km, sun-synchronous, near-polar, circular, 10:30 a.m. descending node (Terra) or 1:30 p.m. ascending node (Aqua) Swath Dimensions: 2330 km (cross track) by 10 km (along track at nadir)

Temporal Resolution: Views the entire surface of the Earth every one to two days. Its high temporal resolution enables to monitor the dynamic of snow cover in both regional and global scale.

MODIS Spectral Bands


Band 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bandwidth 620 - 670 841 - 876 459 - 479 545 - 565 1230 - 1250 1628 - 1652 2105 - 2155 405 nm 14.385 m Spatial Resolution 250 m 250 m 500 m 500 m 500 m 500 m 500 m Atmospheric, Temperature, Cloud, Ozone, Water Vapour, Ocean Color, Biogeochemistry Primary Use Land/Cloud/Aerosols Boundaries Land/Cloud/Aerosols Properties

8-36

1 km

Spectral Reflectance for Different Land Covers


1.0
MODIS MODIS MODIS band4 band1 band2 MODIS band6

0.8

Fine snow Conifer Green grass Inceptisol soil Basalt Thick cloud

Reflectance

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4

Wavelength

(m)

NDSI (Normalized Difference Snow Index)


It is the normalized value of the difference of reflectances observed in a visible such as MODIS band 4 (0.545-0.565 m) band and a short-wave infrared band MODIS band 6 (1.628-1.652 m).

b4 b6 NDSI = b4 + b6

There are many different standard products (cryoshpere, land, atmosphere, etc.) for MODIS. NSIDC (National Snow & Ice Data Center) has been producing snow products in different levels.

MODIS Snow Products

MODIS L2 5 minute Swath Product (MOD10_L2 Snow)


It is a 5 minute swath product

MODIS Level 3 Product In Sinusoidal Projection

It is in 10 deg X 10 deg tiles. Horizontal = 36 tiles Vertical = 18 tiles

MOD10A2 (500m)
8-day composite snow product
Maximum Snow Extent Coded Integer Values Sample Explanation Value 0 1 11 25 37 39 50 100 200 data missing no decision night no snow lake ocean cloud lake ice snow detector saturated fill

Sample Tile no. h25v06 Layer 1. Maximum Snow Extent Layer 2. 8-day Snow cover

254 255

Method & Tools


The following slides explains the detail method that we have adopted to improve the MODIS snow cover products. MODIS Snow Tool for processing and analysis of MODIS snow data has been developed as it becomes needed. The tool has been designed to be able to handle/process multiple time-series data. The usage of the tool will be demonstrated/discussed during the hands on exercises.

Snow Cover Monitoring System at ICIMOD


Internet daily ICIMOD Server Quick Look Generation System Snow Products Web Cataloguing MODIS Snow Products DB Spatial-temporal Filtering Improved Snow Cover Products Snow Cover DB in Sub-basin Level Applications Hydrological Modelling Dissemination Cryosphere Portal DVD

Image Processing Flow


MODIS Snow Products MODIS Reprojection Tool Mosaicking &Reprojection Major rivers basin/sub-basin/ watershed/catchment level Terra Snow Aqua Snow

Combined Snow Product Temporal Filtering MODIS Snow Tool Spatial Filtering Temporal Analysis Improved Snow Product Extracting Snow Cover Area Analysis

Combining Terra & Aqua


It combines Terra and Aqua dataset in order to get the most information by taking good data from both satellites. Cloud pixels/missing data are removed.

good data [snow, land, water, etc.]

Terra MODIS (Natural Color)

Cloud is always a major problem in the remote sensing images which uses visible wavelength regions.

Terra MODIS Snow Cover

Snow free land Water Body

Snow Cloud/No data

Aqua MODIS (Natural Color)

Aqua MODIS Snow Cover

Snow free land Water Body

Snow Cloud/No data

Combined MODIS Snow Cover

Snow free land Water Body

Snow Cloud/No data

Cloud removal by Temporal Filter


It removes cloud pixels by filling with good data from either adjacent backward or forward days.

L Land

Snow

C Cloud

Cloud removal by Spatial Filter


It removes cloud pixels by filling with majority of good data from surrounding pixels. Example of using a 7X7 spatial window size

It can remove scattered cloud pixels and the edge of the big cloud

Cloud removal by Temporal Analysis


It is similar to temporal filtering but it removes cloud pixels by filling with the data from adjacent day only when the adjacent backward and forward days have the same class. Examples, day1-day2-day3 land-cloud-land land-land-land snow-cloud-snow snow-snow-snow

Product Improvement
Most of the cloud can be removed by combination of two satellite and temporal filtering. Example for the whole HKH area,

Estimating Snow Cover Area

A systematic distortion occurs while transforming into Geographic Coordinate System. The area is exaggerated in the higher latitude and is greater than its original values. For area calculation, the image is has to be reprojected into a projection that preserve area.

Snow Cover Area In this method, the area of each and every pixel for different latitudes is reprojected into the ideal sphere (using the WGS_1984) and the total snow cover area is estimated by summation of all snow pixel area.

Error (500m spatial resolution) = -0.0022 to -0.0023 %

Area of a snow pixel/cell


The area of a snow pixel, at location (x,y), can be calculated by

dx dy

Where; A(x,y) dx(x,y) dy(x,y)

= Area of a pixel (square meter) = longitudinal distance of pixel in East-West direction (meter) = latitudinal distance of pixel in North-South direction (meter)

The longitudinal and latitudinal distances of a pixel at different latitudes can be calculated by

= latitude in radian (lat * / 180) (positive for northern hemisphere) (radian) C() = Circumference of parallel at latitude (meter) Polar Circumference = 39,940,653 (meter) dx = Spatial resolution/cell size in East-West direction given by image (in degree for GCS) dy = Spatial resolution/cell size in North-South direction given by image (in degree for GCS)

Where;

Analysis
1. Trend Analysis

Snow cover area (%)

a. Time-series of Snow Cover Area for HinduKush-Himalaya Regions

21 20 19 18 17 16 15 2001

b. Annual snow cover for HKH region

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Year

Analysis
2. Decadal Snow Cover Change 2000-2010 (Terra Only)

-16

-12

-8

-4

12

16

Percent

Analysis
2. Decadal Snow Cover Change 2002-2010 (Terra+Aqua)

-16

-12

-8

-4

12

16

Percent

Analysis
3. snow cover trend for the eastern, central, and western parts of HKH region

Analysis
4. Monthly variation of snow cover for HKH region
40
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

35

30

Snow cover area (%)

25

20

15

10

0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Months

Analysis
5. Seasonal variation of SCA in the HKH region

Analysis
6. Altitude zone-wise snow cover variation for HKH region
100
<1000 1000-1500 1500-2000

90

80

2000-2500 2500-3000

Snow cover area (%)

70
3000-3500

60

3500-4000 4000-4500

50
4500-5000 5000-5500 5500-6000

40

30

6000-6500 6500-7000 7000-7500

20

10

7500-8000 >8000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Analysis
7. Interannual variation in snow cover area for the10 major river basins
260
Amu Darya Brahmaputra Salween Ganges Tarim Indus Yangtze Irrawaddy Yellow River

240
Mekong

220 Snow cover area x 1000 (sq.km) 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Analysis
8. Monthly variation of snow cover for Brahmaputra basin

Analysis
9. Altitude zone-wise snow cover distribution

(%)

Meter

Example. Brahmaputra basin (for one time point)

Analysis
10. Slope zone-wise snow cover area distribution

Degree

E.g Brahmaputra river basin

Analysis
11. Aspect zone-wise snow cover area

Unit snow cover percent area

E.g Brahmaputra river basin

Output - Report 1

coming soon

To be released in COP17, Durban, S. Africa in December 2011

Output - Paper 1

http://www.the-cryosphere.net/home.html

Output - Paper 2

published in IGARSS 2010

Output - Paper 3

ACCEPTED IN

CURRENT SCIENCE

http://cs-test.ias.ac.in/cs/index.php

Cryosphere Portal
As a cryoshpere data hub, an online snow cover database has been established in ICIMOD. Online Snow Cover Database is currently made accessible to public at http://118.91.160.238/snow/# Later, this cryosphere portal will be incorporated into SERVIR science application. Demo for browsing Cryosphere portal will be done during the hands on section.

Conclusion
Remote sensing is an essential tool for snow cover monitoring and assessment in both regional and global scale. The high temporal resolution of MODIS enables us to monitor the dynamic snow cover in every one or two days. MODIS snow product is the only standard product which is available free of cost. In addition to MODIS snow products, it is highly suggested to construct long term historical snow cover data from other satellite for assessment of snow cover area changes for climate change analysis.

Thank you