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Multisensor Analysis of Satellite Images for Regional Snow Distribution

K. Seidel, C. Ehrler and J. Martinec
Progress in Environmental Research and Applications, 15th EARSeL Symposium 1995, Basel, Switzerland


The method is presented to evaluate areal average water equivalents of the seasonal snow cover by periodical snow cover mappings from multispectral satellite recordings. As a refinement of earlier preliminary results, an extra-polation procedure is applied using GIS techniques in order to analyse image segments obscured by clouds or by forest canopy. In the Upper Rhine basin at Felsberg (3250 km2, 560-3614 m a.s.l.), the snow water equivalent on 1 April in four different years was evaluated for 5 elevation zones in 9 partial areas. Conventional depletion curves of snow covered areas were derived from SPOT-XS, Landsat-MSS and Landsat-TM data and converted to the so called modified depletion curves which indicate the snow water equivalent. A comparison with terrestrial measurements is limited by the insufficient snow gauging network above 2000 m a.s.l. Areal water equivalents interpolated for 2000 m a.s.l. indicate that the snow accumulation is persistently greater in the weastern part of the Felsberg basin than in the eastern part. In the middle part, the North-South relation of the snow accumulation changed from year to year.

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  author = {K. Seidel and C. Ehrler and J. Martinec},
  title = {Multisensor Analysis of Satellite Images for Regional Snow Distribution},
  booktitle = {Progress in Environmental Research and Applications, 15th EARSeL Symposium 1995, Basel, Switzerland},
  year = {1996},
  pages = {213-220},
  editor = {E. Parlow},
  publisher = {A. A. Balkema Rotterdam/Brookfield},
  keywords = {remote sensing, Landsat, SPOT, snow cover monitoring, runoff simulation, runoff forecast}