Snow-cover variations over the Mackenzie River basin, Canada, derived from SSM/I passive-microwave satellite data

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Abstract:

The Mackenzie GEWEX Study (MAGS) is a Canadian investigation that has the objective of understanding and modelling the water and energy cycles and their roles in the climate system in the high-latitude Mackenzie River basin, including assessing potential changes due to climate variability and change. The Climate Research Branch (CRB) of the Meteorological Service of Canada has investigated snow-cover variations over the MAGS region using snow water equivalent (SWE) datasets derived from Special Sensor Microwave/ Imager (SSM/I) passive-microwave satellite data for the winter seasons 1988-98. The SWE datasets were derived using four CRB algorithms for prairie, coniferous-forest, deciduousforest and sparse-forest land-cover types and then evaluated against available in situ SWE measurements for MAGS sub-basins. Overall, the SWE algorithms produce reliable estimates (within 10-20 mm of in situ SWE measurements) for the validated part of the MAGS region, although some areas exhibit underestimations of >30 mm, which may be due to the presence of a high density of lakes or a decreased microwave sensitivity to high-SWE conditions (>100 mm).A time-series dataset of SSM/I-derived SWE for 1 March of each year from 1988 to 1998 has been produced as a MAGS deliverable, which provides important information on the spatial and temporal variability in snow cover over the Mackenzie River basin.This dataset has been used in the assessment of snow-cover outputs from MAGS hydrological and climate-modelling investigations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756402781817680

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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