Snow has large effects in runoff and hydrology in major areas of Central Europe, especially in the Alps. The detailed knowledge of the snow cover can help to ascertain the water balance in observed areas and can improve flood forecast and prediction of stored water (Hydropower).
Monitoring of the extent of the snow cover by operational Near-Real-Time service. In case of slight cloud cover the Snow Covered Area SCA can derived daily. Left: NOAA-AVHRR, catchment of the Rhine (25. Jan. 2009). Right: SCA map from operational service
Snow Covered Area
Snow Free Areas
Wet-Snow / Melting Snow
Snow maps are operationaly available for different catchments and users within Polar View and additional commercial service offers. All products can be delivered in adapeted, user defined formats as daily service.
The derivation of snow cover maps using optical imagery is affected by cloud cover (dark grey). During snow melt C-Band SAR allows wet snow detection (dark blue). Spatial and temporal availability of datasets is however limited. Example here from ENVISAT (2002-2012).
Observation of the snow melt for the area of the Upper Danube in the period 25. Feb. – 1. Mar. 2009 left: derived from NOAA-AVHRR (optical); right: derived from ENVISAT ASAR(C-Band)
Starting with the availability of Sentinel-1 data (since 2014) within Copernicus, new opportunities in continuous and up-to date monitoring of the snow cover emerged.
Observation of the snow melt for the area of Newfoundland (Canada) in early 2015 left: changing backscatter (Sentinel-1 EW mode); right: wet snow map product