Estimation of Snow Cover Distribution in Beas Basin, Indian Himalaya Using Satellite Data and Ground Measurements
In the present paper, a methodology has been developed for the mapping of snow cover in Beas basin, Indian Himalaya using AWiFS (IRS-P6) satellite data. The complexities in the mapping of snow cover in the study area are snow under vegetation, contaminated snow and patchy snow. To overcome these problems, field measurements using spectroradiometer were carried out and reflectance/snow indices trend were studied. By evaluation and validation of different topographic correction models, it was observed that, the normalized difference snow index (NDSI) values remain constant with the variations in slope and aspect and thus NDSI can take care of topography effects. Different snow cover mapping methods using snow indices are compared to find the suitable mapping technique. The proposed methodology for snow cover mapping uses the NDSI (estimated using planetary reflectance), NIR band reflectance and forest/vegetation cover information. The satellite estimated snow or non-snow pixel information using proposed methodology was validated with the snow cover information collected at three observatory locations and it was found that the algorithm classify all the sample points correctly, once that pixel is cloud free. The snow cover distribution was estimated using one year (2004–05) cloud free satellite data and good correlation was observed between increase/decrease areal extent of seasonal snow cover and ground observed fresh snowfall and standing snow data.