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Keywords:

  • MODIS;
  • snow covered area;
  • snow products;
  • Terra;
  • Aqua

Abstract

A suite of Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) snow products at various spatial and temporal resolutions from the Terra satellite has been available since February 2000. Standard products include daily and 8-day composite 500 m resolution swath and tile products (which include fractional snow cover (FSC) and snow albedo), and 0·05° resolution products on a climate-modelling grid (CMG) (which also include FSC). These snow products (from Collection 4 (C4) reprocessing) are mature and most have been validated to varying degrees and are available to order through the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The overall absolute accuracy of the well-studied 500 m resolution swath (MOD10_L2) and daily tile (MOD10A1) products is ∼93%, but varies by land-cover type and snow condition. The most frequent errors are due to snow/cloud discrimination problems, however, improvements in the MODIS cloud mask, an input product, have occurred in ‘Collection 5’ reprocessing. Detection of very thin snow (<1 cm thick) can also be problematic. Validation of MOD10_L2 and MOD10A1 applies to all higher-level products because all the higher-level products are all created from these products. The composited products may have larger errors due, in part, to errors propagated from daily products. Recently, new products have been developed. A fractional snow cover algorithm for the 500 m resolution products was developed, and is part of the C5 daily swath and tile products; a monthly CMG snow product at 0·05° resolution and a daily 0·25° resolution CMG snow product are also now available. Similar, but not identical products are also produced from the MODIS on the Aqua satellite, launched in May 2002, but the accuracy of those products has not yet been assessed in detail. Published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.