Snow cover variability across central Canada (1978-2002) derived from satellite passive microwave data

Michael A. Wulder, Trisalyn Nelson, Chris Derksen, David Seemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Twenty-four winter seasons (1978-2002) of mean February snow water equivalent (SWE) values were analyzed in an exploration of the spatial pattern of temporal variability in snow cover across the non-mountainous interior of Canada. The SWE data were derived from space-borne passive microwave brightness temperatures processed with a land cover-sensitive suite of algorithms. Spatial patterns in the frequency and amount of variability were investigated on an annual basis through comparisons with average trends over all 24 years. Changes in temporal variability through time were also investigated by comparing three eight year time periods to general trends. Analyses were synthesized at the ecozone scale in order to link results both to potential land cover influences on algorithm performance and climatological variability in SWE. Prairie and northern ecozones were typically found to be the most variable in terms of SWE magnitude. Analyses indicate that non-treed land cover classes are generally more variable than treed classes. The results also indicate that extreme weather events appear to be occurring with increasing consistency in the Prairie and Arctic regions. Discerning climatologically significant variability in the time series, compared to algorithm-related issues can be a challenge, but in an era of eroding surface observing networks the passive microwave time series represents an important resource for monitoring and detecting trends and variability in terrestrial snow cover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-130
Number of pages18
JournalClimatic Change
Volume82
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

snow water equivalent
Snow
snow cover
Microwaves
Satellites
ecozone
land cover
prairie
Water
time series
Time series
brightness temperature
weather
microwave
Luminance
winter
monitoring
resource
trend
Monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

Snow cover variability across central Canada (1978-2002) derived from satellite passive microwave data. / Wulder, Michael A.; Nelson, Trisalyn; Derksen, Chris; Seemann, David.

In: Climatic Change, Vol. 82, No. 1-2, 05.2007, p. 113-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wulder, Michael A. ; Nelson, Trisalyn ; Derksen, Chris ; Seemann, David. / Snow cover variability across central Canada (1978-2002) derived from satellite passive microwave data. In: Climatic Change. 2007 ; Vol. 82, No. 1-2. pp. 113-130.
@article{f24fdecbf9c64e90a93965966beaefdf,
title = "Snow cover variability across central Canada (1978-2002) derived from satellite passive microwave data",
abstract = "Twenty-four winter seasons (1978-2002) of mean February snow water equivalent (SWE) values were analyzed in an exploration of the spatial pattern of temporal variability in snow cover across the non-mountainous interior of Canada. The SWE data were derived from space-borne passive microwave brightness temperatures processed with a land cover-sensitive suite of algorithms. Spatial patterns in the frequency and amount of variability were investigated on an annual basis through comparisons with average trends over all 24 years. Changes in temporal variability through time were also investigated by comparing three eight year time periods to general trends. Analyses were synthesized at the ecozone scale in order to link results both to potential land cover influences on algorithm performance and climatological variability in SWE. Prairie and northern ecozones were typically found to be the most variable in terms of SWE magnitude. Analyses indicate that non-treed land cover classes are generally more variable than treed classes. The results also indicate that extreme weather events appear to be occurring with increasing consistency in the Prairie and Arctic regions. Discerning climatologically significant variability in the time series, compared to algorithm-related issues can be a challenge, but in an era of eroding surface observing networks the passive microwave time series represents an important resource for monitoring and detecting trends and variability in terrestrial snow cover.",
author = "Wulder, {Michael A.} and Trisalyn Nelson and Chris Derksen and David Seemann",
year = "2007",
month = "5",
doi = "10.1007/s10584-006-9148-9",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "82",
pages = "113--130",
journal = "Climatic Change",
issn = "0165-0009",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Snow cover variability across central Canada (1978-2002) derived from satellite passive microwave data

AU - Wulder, Michael A.

AU - Nelson, Trisalyn

AU - Derksen, Chris

AU - Seemann, David

PY - 2007/5

Y1 - 2007/5

N2 - Twenty-four winter seasons (1978-2002) of mean February snow water equivalent (SWE) values were analyzed in an exploration of the spatial pattern of temporal variability in snow cover across the non-mountainous interior of Canada. The SWE data were derived from space-borne passive microwave brightness temperatures processed with a land cover-sensitive suite of algorithms. Spatial patterns in the frequency and amount of variability were investigated on an annual basis through comparisons with average trends over all 24 years. Changes in temporal variability through time were also investigated by comparing three eight year time periods to general trends. Analyses were synthesized at the ecozone scale in order to link results both to potential land cover influences on algorithm performance and climatological variability in SWE. Prairie and northern ecozones were typically found to be the most variable in terms of SWE magnitude. Analyses indicate that non-treed land cover classes are generally more variable than treed classes. The results also indicate that extreme weather events appear to be occurring with increasing consistency in the Prairie and Arctic regions. Discerning climatologically significant variability in the time series, compared to algorithm-related issues can be a challenge, but in an era of eroding surface observing networks the passive microwave time series represents an important resource for monitoring and detecting trends and variability in terrestrial snow cover.

AB - Twenty-four winter seasons (1978-2002) of mean February snow water equivalent (SWE) values were analyzed in an exploration of the spatial pattern of temporal variability in snow cover across the non-mountainous interior of Canada. The SWE data were derived from space-borne passive microwave brightness temperatures processed with a land cover-sensitive suite of algorithms. Spatial patterns in the frequency and amount of variability were investigated on an annual basis through comparisons with average trends over all 24 years. Changes in temporal variability through time were also investigated by comparing three eight year time periods to general trends. Analyses were synthesized at the ecozone scale in order to link results both to potential land cover influences on algorithm performance and climatological variability in SWE. Prairie and northern ecozones were typically found to be the most variable in terms of SWE magnitude. Analyses indicate that non-treed land cover classes are generally more variable than treed classes. The results also indicate that extreme weather events appear to be occurring with increasing consistency in the Prairie and Arctic regions. Discerning climatologically significant variability in the time series, compared to algorithm-related issues can be a challenge, but in an era of eroding surface observing networks the passive microwave time series represents an important resource for monitoring and detecting trends and variability in terrestrial snow cover.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=34147094206&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=34147094206&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10584-006-9148-9

DO - 10.1007/s10584-006-9148-9

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:34147094206

VL - 82

SP - 113

EP - 130

JO - Climatic Change

JF - Climatic Change

SN - 0165-0009

IS - 1-2

ER -