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ABoVE: Passive Microwave-derived Annual Snowoff Date Maps, 1988-2016

Documentation Revision Date: 2020-01-09

Dataset Version: 1

Summary

This dataset provides annual maps of the snowoff (SO) date from 1988-2016 across Alaska and parts of Far East Russia and northwest Canada at a resolution of 6.25 km. SO date is defined as the last day of persistent snow and was derived from the MEaSUREs Calibrated Enhanced-Resolution Passive Microwave (PMW) EASE-Grid Brightness Temperature (Tb) Earth System Data Record (ESDR) product. The spatial domain was intended to match MODIS Alaska Snow Metrics and extend its temporal fidelity beyond the MODIS era. SO date estimates were compared to snow depth measurements collected at SNOTEL stations across Alaska and to three SO datasets derived from MODIS, Landsat, and the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS).

There are 30 total files in GeoTIFF (.tif) format, one file for every year from 1988-2016 and a fractional water mask file.

Figure 1. Summary statistics for the snowoff date from 1988-2016 across the study domain: mean (left), standard deviation (middle), and coefficient of variation (right).

Citation

Pan, C.G., P.B. Kirchner, J. Du, and J.S. Kimball. 2019. ABoVE: Passive Microwave-derived Annual Snowoff Date Maps, 1988-2016. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1711

Table of Contents

  1. Dataset Overview
  2. Data Characteristics
  3. Application and Derivation
  4. Quality Assessment
  5. Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods
  6. Data Access
  7. References

Dataset Overview

This dataset provides annual maps of the snowoff (SO) date from 1988-2016 across Alaska and parts of Far East Russia and northwest Canada at a resolution of 6.25 km. SO date is defined as the last day of persistent snow and was derived from the MEaSUREs Calibrated Enhanced-Resolution Passive Microwave (PMW) EASE-Grid Brightness Temperature (Tb) Earth System Data Record (ESDR) product. The spatial domain was intended to match MODIS Alaska Snow Metrics and extend its temporal fidelity beyond the MODIS era. SO date estimates were compared to snow depth measurements collected at SNOTEL stations across Alaska and to three SO datasets derived from MODIS, Landsat, and the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). 

Project: Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

The Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) is a NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program field campaign based in Alaska and western Canada between 2016 and 2021. Research for ABoVE links field-based, process-level studies with geospatial data products derived from airborne and satellite sensors, providing a foundation for improving the analysis and modeling capabilities needed to understand and predict ecosystem responses and societal implications.

Related Publication:

Pan, C. G., Kirchner, P. B., Kimball, J. S., and Du, J. (2020). A long-term passive microwave snowoff record for the Alaska region 1988-2016. Remote Sensing 12(1),  https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010153

Related Datasets:

Pan, C.G., P.B. Kirchner, J.S. Kimball, Y. Kim, and J. Du. 2018. ABoVE: Rain-on-Snow Frequency and Distribution during Cold Seasons, Alaska, 2003-2016. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1611

Acknowledgments:

This work was funded by NASA ABoVE under grant NNX15AT74A.

Data Characteristics

Spatial Coverage: Alaska, USA; Northwest Canada; Far Eastern Russia

ABoVE Reference Locations

Domain: Core ABoVE

Grid cell: Ah000-001v000-001

Spatial Resolution: 6.25 km

Temporal Coverage: 1988-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Temporal Resolution: annual

Study Area: (all latitudes and longitudes given in decimal degrees)

Site Westernmost
Longitude
Easternmost
Longitude
Northernmost
Latitude
Southernmost
Latitude
Alaska, Canada, Russia -180 180 90 37.97873056

 

Data File Information

There are 30 total data files in GeoTIFF (.tif) format. This includes 29 snowoff data files, one for every year within the period of record (1988-2016) and 1 file that provides a fractional water (FW) mask for the study area. 

Data File Naming Convention: ABoVE.snowoff.YYYYAh000-001v000-001.XXX.tif

Where:

YYYY is the calendar year of the measurements, and XXX indicates the data product version format (xxx). All data are version *.001.

All data are provided in the ABoVE grid. The filename includes the ABoVE grid designation (Ah000-001v000-001).
        A represents the reference grid name.
        h000-001 indicates that the data cover the horizontal tiles from 0-1 in the A reference grid.
        v000-001 indicates that the data cover the vertical tiles from 0-1 in the A reference grid.

Example snowoff file name: ABoVE.snowoff.1988Ah000-001v000-001.001.tif

Table 1. File names and descriptions

Filename Units Description
ABoVE.snowoff.YYYYAh000-001v000-001.XXX.tif DOY Twenty-nine files. Values represent the snowoff date reported in day of year (DOY). The no-data value is 0. The projection is EPSG 102001 (Standard ABoVE, Canada_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic). There are 629 columns and 652 rows.
FW_snowoff_mask.tif 0-1000 One file. Values represent fractional water (FW) and was used as a mask during analyses. The no-data value is -999. The projection is EPSG 102006 (Alaska_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic). There are 563 columns and 354 rows.

 

Application and Derivation

The resulting SO date is suitable for documenting the spatial-temporal impacts of SO variability in ecosystem services, wildlife movements, and hydrologic processes across the ABoVE domain.

Quality Assessment

PMW-derived SO estimates were compared to snow depth measurements collected at 31 SNOTEL stations across Alaska (https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/reportGenerator/). The data were positively correlated (0.66-0.92) and the mean absolute error was between 2 and 10 days.

PMW-derived SO estimates were also compared to three SO datasets derived from MODIS (Lindsay et al. 2015), Landsat (Macander and Swingley 2017), and Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System. On average, 75% of the study area had residuals between -10 and 10 days. The PMW tended to overestimate SO at high elevations and across the North Slope and underestimated SO in the interior region and into southwest Alaska. +/- 11 days was chosen as the acceptable uncertainty of the PMW SO.

Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods

Snowoff date was derived from the MEaSUREs Calibrated Enhanced-Resolution Passive Microwave (PMW) EASE-Grid Brightness Temperature (Tb) Earth System Data Record (ESDR) product (Brodzik et al. 2018) daily 19V (K-band) and 37V (Ka-band) channel frequencies (Brodzik et al. 2018). Tb observations were collected from both the SMM/I and SSMIS sensors. Before the launch of SSMIS in 2006, SSM/I was used then transitioned to SSMIS. Calibration comparisons between the two sensors have found comparable observations.

First, the average difference between Tb measured by the 19V and 37V channels during the month of June was calculated annually. Then the SO date was identified as the day with the lowest Tb difference value following the start of snowmelt for the year and also had a Tb difference value lower than the average observed in June. This approach could not be used to determine the SO date along shorelines, but shorelines cover between 2-3% of the study domain per year. For these areas, gradient ratio polarization (GRP) (Dolant et al. 2016, Pan et al. 2018) was used. The GRP detected the annual SO date as the day with the lowest 4-day running mean of GRP across the year.

Each annual grid was smoothed using a bilinear interpolation with a 3 x 3 moving window, and the grids were masked by fractional water (FW) to identify pixels that experience higher FW or high seasonal FW variability, which likely influences the SO date. The explicit spatial domain was intended to match the MODIS Alaska Snow Metrics (Lindsay et al. 2015) and extend its temporal fidelity beyond the MODIS era.

Data Access

These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

ABoVE: Passive Microwave-derived Annual Snowoff Date Maps, 1988-2016

Contact for Data Center Access Information:

References

Brodzik, M.J., D.G. Long, M.A. Hardman, A. Paget and R. Armstrong. 2018. MEaSUREs Calibrated Enhanced-Resolution Passive Microwave Daily EASE-Grid 2.0 Brightness Temperature ESDR, Version 1. Boulder, CO: NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. https://doi.org/10.5067/MEASURES/CRYOSPHERE/NSIDC-0630.001

Dolant, C., A. Langlois, B. Montpetit, L. Brucker, A. Roy and A. Royer. 2016. Development of a rain-on-snow detection algorithm using passive microwave radiometry. Hydrol. Process. 30 3184–96 http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/hyp.10828

Lindsay, C., J. Zhu, A.E. Miller, P. Kirchner and T.L. Wilson. 2015. Deriving snow cover metrics for Alaska from MODIS. Remote Sens. 7,12961-85. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs71012961

Macander, M.J., and C.S. Swingley. 2017. Landsat snow persistence and snow regime mapping for Alaska and lichen cover mapping for Yukon-Charley rivers national preserve. USGS Alaska Sci. Cent. Final Rep. 1–88

Pan, C.G., P.B. Kirchner, J.S. Kimball, Y. Kim, and J. Du. 2018. Rain-on-snow events in Alaska, their frequency and distribution from satellite observations. Environ. Res. Lett., (13)7. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aac9d3

Pan, C. G., Kirchner, P. B., Kimball, J. S., and Du, J. (2020). A long-term passive microwave snowoff record for the Alaska region 1988-2016. Remote Sensing 12(1),  https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010153