Remote sensing of snow



Snow is a variable resource that, after being deposited on the Earth's land surface, subsequently serves as a source of water vapor input to the atmosphere through the processes of sublimation and evaporation and as a source of water to the soil and river systems when melting occurs. When the snow is deposited on a land surface, it also markedly changes the albedo and the radiation balance. Therefore snow cover represents a changing atmospheric output that is a function of variability in the Earth's climate, and it is also a boundary condition that affects meteorology and climate through the changes that it makes in the radiation balance and the water vapor input to the atmosphere. Thus it is important to have an active snow cover-monitoring program that will describe the spatial and temporal variability of the snow cover over land areas.