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Gao, Y, Xie, HJ, Yao, TD, Xue, CS (2010). Integrated assessment on multi-temporal and multi-sensor combinations for reducing cloud obscuration of MODIS snow cover products of the Pacific Northwest USA. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 114(8), 1662-1675.

MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) snow cover products, of daily, freely available, worldwide spatial extent at medium spatial resolution, have been widely applied in regional snow cover and modeling studies, although high cloud obscuration remains a concern in some applications. In this study, various approaches including daily combination, adjacent temporal deduction, fixed-day combination, flexible multi-day combination, and multi-sensor combination are assessed to remove cloud obscuration while still maintain the temporal and spatial resolutions. The performance of the resultant snow cover maps are quantitatively evaluated against in situ observations at 244 SNOTEL stations over the Pacific Northwest USA during the period of 2006-2008 hydrological years. Results indicate that daily Terra and Aqua MODIS combination and adjacent temporal deduction can reduce cloud obscuration and classification errors although an annual mean of 37% cloud coverage remains. Classification errors in snow-covered months are actually small and tend to underestimate the snow cover. Primary errors of MODIS daily, fixed and flexible multi-day combination products occur during transient months. Flexible multi-day combination is an efficient approach to maintain the balance between temporal resolution and realistic estimation of snow cover extent since it uses two thresholds to control the combination processes. Multi-sensor combinations (daily or multi-day), taking advantage of MODIS high spatial resolution and AMSR-E cloud penetration ability, provide cloud-free products but bring larger image underestimation errors as compared with their MODIS counterparts. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



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