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GlobSnow: A new contribution to global snow monitoring services

Benjamin Koetz(1) and Olivier Arino(1)

(1) ESA, Via Galileo Galilei - Casella Postale 64, 00044 Frascati, Italy

Abstract

The Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) implementation plan has recognized the global areal extent of snow as one of its terrestrial ECV essential for climate change monitoring. Most recently the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has stated that snow cover extent has declined globally over the last years. Snow cover is of major importance for the environment as it directly affects the planetary albedo, has impacts on the hydrological cycle and acts as indicator for climate change and variability. Snow monitoring for climate research demands variables observed consistently over a long term time period in order to determine climate trends and variability. A prerequisite of such a service is the availability of a Fundamental Climate Data Record (FCDR) – a long term data set provided possibly by a number of different instruments but allowing for the generation of homogeneous and consistent products. Such a FCDR based on satellite data requires a rigorous instrument calibration and consistent sampling or interpolation over space and time. The GlobSnow project will help to define, develop and demonstrate a global snow monitoring service based on satellite Earth Observation data. The service will be developed in close collaboration and in accordance with the user community and their requirements. Specifically the requirements for fulfilling a FCDR in terms of stability, accuracy and homogeneity will be respected as far as possible. The ultimate aim of the GlobSnow project is the improvement of the knowledge and technical capacity necessary to implement a global snow monitoring service fulfilling the GCOS implementation plan requirements.

 

Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry