Skip to main content

Indices for estimating fractional snow cover in the western Tibetan Plateau

Buy Article:

$35.11 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Snow cover in the Tibetan Plateau is highly variable in space and time and plays a key role in ecological processes of this cold-desert ecosystem. Resolution of passive microwave data is too low for regional-scale estimates of snow cover on the Tibetan Plateau, requiring an alternate data source. Optically derived snow indices allow for more accurate quantification of snow cover using higher-resolution datasets subject to the constraint of cloud cover. This paper introduces a new optical snow index and assesses four optically derived MODIS snow indices using Landsat-based validation scenes: MODIS Snow-Covered Area and Grain Size (MODSCAG), Relative Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis (RMESMA), Relative Spectral Mixture Analysis (RSMA) and the normalized-difference snow index (NDSI). Pearson correlation coefficients were positively correlated with the validation datasets for all four optical snow indices, suggesting each provides a good measure of total snow extent. At the 95% confidence level, linear least-squares regression showed that MODSCAG and RMESMA had accuracy comparable to validation scenes. Fusion of optical snow indices with passive microwave products, which provide snow depth and snow water equivalent, has the potential to contribute to hydrologic and energy-balance modeling in the Tibetan Plateau.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more