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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 Apr 2019

Research article | 23 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

MODIS Cloud-Gap Filled Snow-Cover Products: Advantages and Uncertainties

Dorothy K. Hall1,2,3, George A. Riggs3,2, Nicolo E. DiGirolamo3,2, and Miguel O. Román4 Dorothy K. Hall et al.
  • 1Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 2Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 3SSAI, Lanham, MD 20706, USA
  • 4Earth from Space Institute/USRA, 7178 Columbia Gateway Dr., Columbia, MD 21046, USA

Abstract. MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cryosphere products that have been available since the launch of the Terra MODIS in 2000 and the Aqua MODIS in 2002 include snow-cover extent (swath, daily and eight-day composites) and daily snow albedo. These products are used in hydrological modeling and studies of local and regional climate, and are increasingly being used to study regional hydrological and climatological changes over time. Reprocessing of the complete snow-cover data record, from Collection 5 (C5) to Collection 6 (C6) and Collection 6.1 (C6.1), has led to improvements in the MODIS product suite. Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Collection 1 (C1) snow-cover products have been available since 2011, and are currently being reprocessed for Collection 2 (C2). To address the need for a cloud-reduced or cloud-free daily snow product for both MODIS and VIIRS, a new daily cloud-gap filled snow-cover product was developed for MODIS C6.1 and VIIRS C2 processing. MOD10A1F (Terra) and MYD10A1F (Aqua) are daily, 500-m resolution cloud-gap filled (CGF) snow-cover map products from MODIS. VNP10A1F is the 375-m resolution CGF snow map from VIIRS. The CGF maps provide daily cloud-free snow maps, along with cloud-persistence maps showing the age of the snow or non-snow observation in each pixel. Work is ongoing to evaluate and document uncertainties in the MODIS and VIIRS standard daily CGF snow-cover products. Analysis of the MOD/MYD10A1F products for study areas in the western United States shows excellent results in terms of accuracy of snow-cover mapping. When there are frequent clear-sky episodes, MODIS is able to capture enough clear views of the surface to produce accurate snow-cover information and snow maps. Even in the extensively-cloud-covered northeastern United States during winter months, snow maps from MODIS CGF products are useful, though the snow maps are likely to miss some snow, particularly during the spring snowmelt period when snow may fall and melt within a day or two, before the clouds clear from the storm that deposited the snow. Comparisons between the Terra and Aqua CGF snow maps have revealed differences that are related to cloud masking in the two algorithms. We conclude that the MODIS Terra CGF is the more accurate MODIS snow-cover product, and should therefore be the basis of an Environmental Science Data Record that will extend the CGF data record from the Terra MODIS beginning in 2000 through the VIIRS era, at least through the early 2030s.

Dorothy K. Hall et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Dorothy K. Hall et al.
Dorothy K. Hall et al.
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