Microwaves and snow grains: Monitoring the changing mountain snowpack

2014 Spring Cyberseminar Series

Michael Durand / Ohio State University

Talk Description:

Snow is a vital water resource for over a sixth of the world's population. There are concerns about the impact of changing timing of snowmelt runoff in a warming climate. Microwave radiation has been measured from space and exploited to estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) for decades. Current algorithms struggle to successfully estimate SWE in mountainous areas. Use of microwave data for snowpack characterization for hydrologic studies has been stymied by the complex role of snow microstructure and layering on snow microwave emission, the large spatial scale of the passive microwave (PM) measurements compared with dominant montane landscape spatial scales, and vegetation attenuation of PM measurements.  Here, we summarize recent advances in these three areas, and assess the prospect of large-scale SWE estimation in mountainous areas.

CUAHSI’s Spring 2014 Cyberseminar Series on Snow Hydrology!

Hosted by Jessica Lundquist, University of Washington and Chris Hiemstra, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL)