Determination of snow cover from MODIS data for the Tibetan Plateau region (2012)

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This paper addresses a snow-mapping algorithm for the Tibetan Plateau region using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. Accounting for the effects of the atmosphere and terrain on the satellite observations at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), particularly in the rugged Tibetan Plateau region, the surface reflectance is retrieved from the TOA reflectance after atmospheric and topographic corrections. To reduce the effect of the misclassification of snow and cloud cover, a normalized difference cloud index (NDCI) model is proposed to discriminate snow/cloud pixels, separate from the MODIS cloud mask product MOD35. The MODIS land surface temperature (LST) product MOD11_L2 is also used to ensure better accuracy of the snow cover classification. Comparisons of the resulting snow cover with those estimated from high spatial-resolution Landsat ETM+ data and obtained from MODIS snow cover product MOD10_L2 for the Mount Everest region for different seasons in 2002, show that the MODIS snow cover product MOD10_L2 overestimates the snow cover with relative error ranging from 20.1% to 55.7%, whereas the proposed algorithm estimates the snow cover more accurately with relative error varying from 0.3% to 9.8%. Comparisons of the snow cover estimated with the proposed algorithm and those obtained from MOD10_L2 product with in situ measurements over the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region for December 2003 and January 2004 (the snowy seasons) indicate that the proposed algorithm can map the snow cover more accurately with greater than 90% agreement.
Year: 2012
Language: English
In: International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation(In Press)