Satellite observations of variations in Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow cover
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Satellite observations of variations in Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow cover

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Satellite observations of variations in Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow cover


  • Description:
    The purpose of this report is to acquaint the research and user community with the usefulness of satellite derived snow cover data, the digitized archive of snow cover data for the Northern Hemisphere, and the various climatological products that can be derived from this data base. Weekly Snow and Ice Charts of the Northern Hemisphere, which had been prepared by the National Earth Satellite Service (NESS), were analyzed for the period November 1966 through December 1980. Each of these weekly charts was digitized and then stored and displayed in a format of for 50percent or more of a grid box covered with snow and "0" for no snow cover. For display purposes, all water bodies were left completely blank to allow the above two symbols to define the land areas. Although ice cover was also digitized and stored in the data archive, only snow cover is analyzed in this report.

    Several snow cover climatologies were created from this digitized archive. Computed monthly snow-cover maps were produced for each month in the study period. Weekly snow-cover-frequency maps were created to illustrate the average frequency of snow cover during the 14-year period for each week.An annual snow-cover-frequency map was created for each snow-cover season.A map illustrating the overall frequency of snow cover for the entire study period was created by averaging all digitized weekly snow-cover charts for the 14-year period. Yearly snow-cover-frequency maps were then compared to the map of overall average snow cover frequency in order to create annual anomaly maps. Weekly snow-cover areas were computed and graphically compared with the average weekly snow cover amounts. An analysis and discussion of these products is included along with a description of potential data use and data limitations.

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