César Deschamps-Berger


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Estimating Fractional Snow Cover in Open Terrain from Sentinel-2 Using the Normalized Difference Snow Index
Simon Gascoin, Zacharie Barrou Dumont, César Deschamps-Berger, Florence Marti, Germain Salgues, Juan I. López‐Moreno, Jesús Revuelto, Timothée Michon, Paul Schattan, Olivier Hagolle
Remote Sensing, Volume 12, Issue 18

Sentinel-2 provides the opportunity to map the snow cover at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions on a global scale. Here we calibrate and evaluate a simple empirical function to estimate the fractional snow cover (FSC) in open terrains using the normalized difference snow index (NDSI) from 20 m resolution Sentinel-2 images. The NDSI is computed from flat surface reflectance after masking cloud and snow-free areas. The NDSI–FSC function is calibrated using Pléiades very high-resolution images and evaluated using independent datasets including SPOT 6/7 satellite images, time lapse camera photographs, terrestrial lidar scans and crowd-sourced in situ measurements. The calibration results show that the FSC can be represented with a sigmoid-shaped function 0.5 × tanh(a × NDSI + b) + 0.5, where a = 2.65 and b = −1.42, yielding a root mean square error (RMSE) of 25%. Similar RMSE are obtained with different evaluation datasets with a high topographic variability. With this function, we estimate that the confidence interval on the FSC retrievals is 38% at the 95% confidence level.

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Snow depth mapping from stereo satellite imagery in mountainous terrain: evaluation using airborne laser-scanning data
César Deschamps-Berger, Simon Gascoin, Étienne Berthier, J. S. Deems, E. D. Gutmann, Amaury Dehecq, David Shean, Marie Dumont
The Cryosphere, Volume 14, Issue 9

Abstract. Accurate knowledge of snow depth distributions in mountain catchments is critical for applications in hydrology and ecology. Recently, a method was proposed to map snow depth at meter-scale resolution from very-high-resolution stereo satellite imagery (e.g., Pléiades) with an accuracy close to 0.5 m. However, the validation was limited to probe measurements and unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry, which sampled a limited fraction of the topographic and snow depth variability. We improve upon this evaluation using accurate maps of the snow depth derived from Airborne Snow Observatory laser-scanning measurements in the Tuolumne river basin, USA. We find a good agreement between both datasets over a snow-covered area of 138 km2 on a 3 m grid, with a positive bias for a Pléiades snow depth of 0.08 m, a root mean square error of 0.80 m and a normalized median absolute deviation (NMAD) of 0.69 m. Satellite data capture the relationship between snow depth and elevation at the catchment scale and also small-scale features like snow drifts and avalanche deposits at a typical scale of tens of meters. The random error at the pixel level is lower in snow-free areas than in snow-covered areas, but it is reduced by a factor of 2 (NMAD of approximately 0.40 m for snow depth) when averaged to a 36 m grid. We conclude that satellite photogrammetry stands out as a convenient method to estimate the spatial distribution of snow depth in high mountain catchments.