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The relationship between snow cover and climatic parameters at Mt Hermon, Israel

Michal Sherman(1) and Dan G. Blumberg(1)

(1) Ben Gurion University, Ben Gurion Ave POB 653, Bear Sheva 84105, Israel

Abstract

The Sea of Galilee is Israel's largest and most important fresh water reservoir, supplying close to 50 % of Israel’s fresh water. Mount Hermon is one of the major contributors of water to the Sea of Galilee. The snow which piles up, mostly during the winter, melts and runs underground through carstic systems, to the upper part of the Jordan River and from there to the Sea of Galilee. Very little is known about the snowfall on Mount Hermon; its properties, structure, boundaries, and spatial extent and fluctuations, which is presumed to depend on the Middle East climate.

This paper focuses on the extraction of the snow cover from remotely sensed imagery and the interpretation of these fluctuations with respect to different climatic parameters in the Mount Hermon area. Snow cover has so far been extracted on a monthly basis for the years 1998-2002 by classifying images from the SPOT Vegetation sensor, with one km resolution. These will be enhanced with MERIS and MODIS data. The climatic properties considered include rainfall, air temperature, evaporation and wind speed, which are averaged monthly according to the dates of the images.