Work Package 4

Snow maps for target regions in the Northern Periphery

The work package contains the following tasks:

  1. Produce near-real time snow maps of the target areas: NORUT and FMI will use optical, radiometer and advanced synthetic aperture radar data from the MODIS and ENVISAT satellites to map snow parameters in the target regions with resolutions varying between 100m (SAR) and 25 km (radiometer), depending on the data in question. Focus will be on snow covered area and snow status (wet snow/dry snow classification). Information on Snow Water Equivalent (SWE, related to snow cover thickness) is currently being produced by FMI´s Arctic Research Centre, but since this product is currently not delivered for mountainous areas, SNAPS will not aim to produce detailed SWE information.

  2. First regular production of snow maps for Iceland: SNAPS will initiate satellite-based snow mapping for Iceland in an area with a high avalanche hazard (Vestfirðir/Westfjords). Depending on user interest and funding, the service can be expanded to include all of Iceland in the future. The services already being provided for Finland, Norway and Sweden by the partners (in other EU and ESA projects) will be further enhanced for the project's test regions.

  3. Production of cumulative snow cover maps: This will be achieved by combining the satellite-based products and results from numerical weather prediction models.

  4. Validation: Data on snow extent and snow thickness collected in regular monitoring programmes run by transport authorities (webcams, field measurements) will be used for validation of the snow maps produced. Conventional snow depth and precipitation observations from synoptic weather stations will also be used.

NORUT, FMI and IMO have access to optical and SAR satellite data available through ESA's rolling archive. The SAR snow mapping service is based on ENVISAT data and will be limited to the lifetime of that satellite, but can in the future be adapted to the new satellite Sentinel-1 (subject to renewed funding).

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