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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 28 Feb 2019

Research article | 28 Feb 2019

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

Icelandic Snow Cover Characteristics derived from a gap-filled MODIS Daily Snow Cover Product

Andri Gunnarsson1,2, Sigurður M. Garðarsson1, and Óli G. B. Sveinsson2 Andri Gunnarsson et al.
  • 1University of Iceland, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hjardarhagi 2–6, IS-107 Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 2Landsvirkjun, Department of Research and Development, Reykjavík, IS-107, Iceland

Abstract. This study presents a spatio-temporal continuous data set for snow cover in Iceland based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (Modis) from 2000–2018. Cloud cover and polar darkness are the main limiting factors for data availability of remotely sensed optical data at higher latitudes. In Iceland the average cloud cover is 75 % with some spatial variations and polar darkness reduces data availability from the Modis sensor from late November until mid January. In this study Modis snow cover data were validated over Iceland with comparison to manned in-situ observations, Landsat 7/8 and Sentinel 2 data. Overall a good agreement was found between in-situ observed snow cover with an average agreement of 0.925. Agreement of Landsat 7,8 and Sentinel 2 was found to be acceptable with R2 values 0.96, 0.92 and 0.95, respectively, and in agreement with other studies. By applying daily data merging from Terra and Aqua and temporal aggregation of 7 days, unclassified pixels were reduced from 75 % to 14 %. The remaining unclassified pixels after daily merging and temporal aggregation were removed with classification learners trained with classified data, pixel location, aspect and elevation. Various snow cover characteristic metrics were derived for each pixel such as snow cover duration, first and last snow free date, deviation and dynamics of snow cover and trends during the study period. On average the first snow free date in Iceland is June 27 with a standard deviation of 19.9 days. For the study period a trend of increasing snow cover duration was observed for all months except October and November. However, statistical testing of the trends indicated that there was only a significant trend in June.

Andri Gunnarsson et al.
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Andri Gunnarsson et al.
Andri Gunnarsson et al.
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Short summary
In this study a gap filled snow cover product for Iceland is developed using Modis satellite data and validated with both in situ observations and alternative remote sensing data sources with good agreement. Information about snow cover extent, duration and changes over time are presented indicating that snow cover extent is increasing slightly for the past few years.
In this study a gap filled snow cover product for Iceland is developed using Modis satellite...