Summary Results from:

Validation of daily MODIS snow cover maps of the Upper Rio Grande River Basin for the 2000-2001 snow year
As they relate to the validation of MOD10

Authors: Andrew G. Klein, Ann C. Barnett

Source: Remote Sensing of Environment 86 (2003) 162-176

Link to: Access Publication


Snow cover represents an important water resource for the Upper Rio Grande River Basin of Colorado and New Mexico. Accuracy assessment of MODIS snow products was accomplished using Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques. Daily snow cover maps produced from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data were compared with operational snow cover maps produced by the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) and against in situ Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) measurements for the 2000-2001 snow season. Over the snow season, agreement between the MODIS and NOHRSC snow maps was high with an overall agreement of 86%. However, MODIS snow maps typically indicate a higher proportion of the basin as being snow-covered than do the NOHRSC snow maps. In particular, large tracts of evergreen forest on the western slopes of the San de Cristo Range, which comprise a large portion of the eastern margin of the basin, are more consistently mapped as snow-covered in the MODIS snow products than in the NOHRSC snow products. NOHRSC snow maps, however, typically indicate a greater proportion of the central portion of the basin, predominately in cultivated areas, as snow. Comparisons of both snow maps with in situ SNOTEL measurements over the snow season show good overall agreement with overall accuracies of 94% and 76% for MODIS and NOHRSC, respectively. A lengthened comparison of MODIS against SNOTEL sites, which increases the number of comparisons of snow-free conditions, indicates a slightly lower overall classification accuracy of 88%. Errors in mapping extra snow and missing snow by MODIS are comparable, with MODIS missing snow in approximately 12% of the cases and mapping too much snow in 15% of the cases. The majority of the days when MODIS fails to map snow occurs at snow depths of less than 4 cm.