ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume IV-5
15 Nov 2018
 | 15 Nov 2018


D. Varade and O. Dikshit

Keywords: snow wetness, snow liquid water content, NDSI, NIR reflectance, triangle method, Sentinel-2

Abstract. Snow cover characterization and estimation of snow geophysical parameters is a significant area of research in water resource management and surface hydrological processes. With advances in spaceborne remote sensing, much progress has been achieved in the qualitative and quantitative characterization of snow geophysical parameters. However, most of the methods available in the literature are based on the microwave backscatter response of snow. These methods are mostly based on the remote sensing data available from active microwave sensors. Moreover, in alpine terrains, such as in the Himalayas, due to the geometrical distortions, the missing data is significant in the active microwave remote sensing data. In this paper, we present a methodology utilizing the multispectral observations of Sentinel-2 satellite for the estimation of surface snow wetness. The proposed approach is based on the popular triangle method which is significantly utilized for the assessment of soil moisture. In this case, we develop a triangular feature space using the near infrared (NIR) reflectance and the normalized differenced snow index (NDSI). Based on the assumption that the NIR reflectance is linearly related to the liquid water content in the snow, we derive a physical relationship for the estimation of snow wetness. The modeled estimates of snow wetness from the proposed approach were compared with in-situ measurements of surface snow wetness. A high correlation determined by the coefficient of determination of 0.94 and an error of 0.535 was observed between the proposed estimates of snow wetness and in-situ measurements.