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Validation of MODIS snow cover products using Landsat and ground measurements during the 2001-2005 snow seasons over northern Xinjiang, China

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The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)/Terra daily snow cover product MOD10A1 was compared with in situ climate station measurements and a snow map generated from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data. Snow-covered area (SCA) dynamics were assessed using the MODIS 8-day snow cover composite product MOD10A2 for the 2001-2005 snow seasons in northern Xinjiang, China. The results indicate that the snow-mapping agreement between MODIS daily snow maps and surface observations is high at 94.6% over the four snow seasons under clear-sky conditions. The snow classification accuracy in a mountainous area was lower than that in a plain area and caused higher omission errors, probably resulting in an underestimation of the SCA. The omission errors were mainly determined by snow depth, land cover types, the terrain and mixed pixels. The cloud agreement was 95.9%, and approximately 4.1% of cloud was misclassified as snow when the sky view at the climate stations was covered by clouds. An improvement was found in suppressing clouds using the 8-day products, with MOD10A2 reducing about 88.4% of the average cloud cover compared with MOD10A1. SCA in northern Xinjiang retrieved using MOD10A2 shows a clear seasonal trend. The air temperature plays an important role in the fractional SCA, and the spatial distribution of the snow cover differs considerably in the various areas in the northern Xinjiang region.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecology Systems, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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