Remote Sensing, Volume 12, Issue 18

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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

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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Modeling Snow Surface Spectral Reflectance in a Land Surface Model Targeting Satellite Remote Sensing Observations
Donghang Shao | Wenbo Xu | Hongyi Li | Wang Jian | Xiaohua Hao

Snow surface spectral reflectance is very important in the Earth’s climate system. Traditional land surface models with parameterized schemes can simulate broadband snow surface albedo but cannot accurately simulate snow surface spectral reflectance with continuous and fine spectral wavebands, which constitute the major observations of current satellite sensors; consequently, there is an obvious gap between land surface model simulations and remote sensing observations. Here, we suggest a new integrated scheme that couples a radiative transfer model with a land surface model to simulate high spectral resolution snow surface reflectance information specifically targeting multisource satellite remote sensing observations. Our results indicate that the new integrated model can accurately simulate snow surface reflectance information over a large spatial scale and continuous time series. The integrated model extends the range of snow spectral reflectance simulation to the whole shortwave band and can predict snow spectral reflectance changes in the solar spectrum region based on meteorological element data. The kappa coefficients (K) of both the narrowband snow albedo targeting Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data simulated by the new integrated model and the retrieved snow albedo based on MODIS reflectance data are 0.5, and both exhibit good spatial consistency. Our proposed narrowband snow albedo simulation scheme targeting satellite remote sensing observations is consistent with remote sensing satellite observations in time series and can predict narrowband snow albedo even during periods of missing remote sensing observations. This new integrated model is a significant improvement over traditional land surface models for the direct spectral observations of satellite remote sensing. The proposed model could contribute to the effective combination of snow surface reflectance information from multisource remote sensing observations with land surface models.