Event Date and Time

Join us for our last weekly seminar of the semester! Richard Kelly, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, will be presenting "Estimating global seasonal snow accumulation using remote sensing microwave observations."

Abstract: Seasonal snow accumulation is a renewable water source that is vital for domestic supply and industrial production in many parts of the world. Snow melt can also be a spring-time flood hazard to communities that are vulnerable to high flow water regimes. Furthermore, seasonal snow plays an important role in moderating the Earth’s climate system through important energy feedback processes, such as the snow-albedo feedback effect. Yet our ability to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of snow accumulation (or snow water equivalent, SWE) at regional to local scales is challenging. Passive microwave observations of the Earth can be used for SWE estimates, the products from which are available at coarse grid scales (e.g. 25x25 km). But to capture local variations of SWE at the landscape scale, finer resolution observations are needed that can also resolve confounding factors that mitigate against low uncertainty estimates. While lidar instruments are effective at capturing snow depth at the watershed scale, they are not globally available and need in situ or modeled estimates of snow density to determine SWE. This presentation highlights the pitfalls and benefits of passive microwave SWE products and makes a case for the use for Ku-band radar observations to estimate local to regional SWE.

For Zoom meeting info, please email Catherine Miranda at cmirand2 [at] umd.edu

Richard Kelly holding a large snowball