M. T. Durand


DOI bib
Review Article: Global Monitoring of Snow Water Equivalent using High Frequency Radar Remote Sensing
Leung Tsang, M. T. Durand, Chris Derksen, A. P. Barros, Dong-In Kang, Hans Lievens, Hans‐Peter Marshall, Jiyue Zhu, Joel T. Johnson, Joshua King, Juha Lemmetyinen, Melody Sandells, Nick Rutter, Paul Siqueira, A. W. Nolin, Batu Osmanoglu, Carrie Vuyovich, Edward Kim, Drew Taylor, Ioanna Merkouriadi, Ludovic Brucker, Mahdi Navari, Marie Dumont, Richard Kelly, Rhae Sung Kim, Tien-Hao Liao, Xiaolan Xu

Abstract. Seasonal snow cover is the largest single component of the cryosphere in areal extent, covering an average of 46 million square km of Earth's surface (31 % of the land area) each year, and is thus an important expression of and driver of the Earth’s climate. In recent years, Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover has been declining at about the same rate (~ −13 %/decade) as Arctic summer sea ice. More than one-sixth of the world’s population relies on seasonal snowpack and glaciers for a water supply that is likely to decrease this century. Snow is also a critical component of Earth’s cold regions' ecosystems, in which wildlife, vegetation, and snow are strongly interconnected. Snow water equivalent (SWE) describes the quantity of snow stored on the land surface and is of fundamental importance to water, energy, and geochemical cycles. Quality global SWE estimates are lacking. Given the vast seasonal extent combined with the spatially variable nature of snow distribution at regional and local scales, surface observations will not be able to provide sufficient SWE information. Satellite observations presently cannot provide SWE information at the spatial and temporal resolutions required to address science and high socio-economic value applications such as water resource management and streamflow forecasting. In this paper, we review the potential contribution of X- and Ku-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for global monitoring of SWE. We describe radar interactions with snow-covered landscapes, characterization of snowpack properties using radar measurements, and refinement of retrieval algorithms via synergy with other microwave remote sensing approaches. SAR can image the surface during both day and night regardless of cloud cover, allowing high-frequency revisit at high spatial resolution as demonstrated by missions such as Sentinel-1. The physical basis for estimating SWE from X- and Ku-band radar measurements at local scales is volume scattering by millimetre-scale snow grains. Inference of global snow properties from SAR requires an interdisciplinary approach based on field observations of snow microstructure, physical snow modelling, electromagnetic theory, and retrieval strategies over a range of scales. New field measurement capabilities have enabled significant advances in understanding snow microstructure such as grain size, densities, and layering. We describe radar interactions with snow-covered landscapes, the characterization of snowpack properties using radar measurements, and the refinement of retrieval algorithms via synergy with other microwave remote sensing approaches. This review serves to inform the broader snow research, monitoring, and applications communities on progress made in recent decades, and sets the stage for a new era in SWE remote-sensing from SAR measurements.


DOI bib
Snow Ensemble Uncertainty Project (SEUP): Quantification of snowwater equivalent uncertainty across North America via ensemble landsurface modeling
Rhae Sung Kim, Sujay V. Kumar, Carrie Vuyovich, Paul R. Houser, Jessica D. Lundquist, Lawrence Mudryk, M. T. Durand, Ana P. Barros, Edward Kim, B. A. Forman, E. D. Gutmann, Melissa L. Wrzesien, Camille Garnaud, Melody Sandells, Hans‐Peter Marshall, Nicoleta Cristea, Justin Pflug, Jeremy Johnston, Yueqian Cao, David M. Mocko, Shugong Wang

Abstract. The Snow Ensemble Uncertainty Project (SEUP) is an effort to establish a baseline characterization of snow water equivalent (SWE) uncertainty across North America with the goal of informing global snow observational needs. An ensemble-based modeling approach, encompassing a suite of current operational models, is used to assess the uncertainty in SWE and total snow storage (SWS) estimation over North America during the 2009&ndashl2017 period. The highest modeled SWE uncertainty is observed in mountainous regions, likely due to the relatively deep snow, forcing uncertainties, and variability between the different models in resolving the snow processes over complex terrain. This highlights a need for high-resolution observations in mountains to capture the high spatial SWE variability. The greatest SWS is found in Tundra regions where even though the spatiotemporal variability in modeled SWE is low, there is considerable uncertainty in the SWS estimates due to the large areal extent over which those estimates are spread. This highlights the need for high accuracy in snow estimations across the Tundra. In mid-latitude boreal forests, large uncertainties in both SWE and SWS indicate that vegetation-snow impacts are a critical area where focused improvements to modeled snow estimation efforts need to be made. Finally, the SEUP results indicate that SWE uncertainty is driving runoff uncertainty and measurements may be beneficial in reducing uncertainty in SWE and runoff, during the melt season at high latitudes (e.g., Tundra and Taiga regions) and in the Western mountain regions, whereas observations at (or near) peak SWE accumulation are more helpful over the mid-latitudes.