Monitoring of seasonal snow cover in Bhutan using remote sensing technique (2011)

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All major rivers in Bhutan depend on snowmelt for discharge. Therefore, changes in snow cover due to climate change can influence distribution and availability of water. However, information about distribution of seasonal snow cover in Bhutan is not available. The MODIS snow product was used to study snow cover status and trends in Bhutan. Average snow cover area (SCA) of Bhutan estimated for the period 2002 to 2010 was 9030 sq. km, about 25.5% of the total land area. SCA trend of Bhutan for the period 2002-2010 was found to decrease (-3.27 +/- 1.28%). The average SCA for winter was 14,485 sq. km (37.7%), for spring 7411 sq. km (19.3%), for summer 4326 sq. km (11.2%), and for autumn 7788 sq. km (20.2%), mostly distributed in the elevation range 2500-6000 m amsl. Interannual and seasonal SCA trend both showed a decline, although it was not statistically significant for all sub-basins. Pho Chu sub-basin with 19.5% of the total average SCA had the highest average SCA. The rate of increase of SCA for every 100 m elevation was the highest (2.5%) in the Pa Chu sub-basin. The coefficient of variance of 1.27 indicates high variability of SCA in winter.
Year: 2011
Language: English
In: Current Science (Bangalore) 101 (10): 1364-1370

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