Durand, M, Molotch, NP, Margulis, SA (2008). Merging complementary remote sensing datasets in the context of snow water equivalent reconstruction. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 112(3), 1212-1225.
Time series of snow covered area (SCA) estimates from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM+) were merged with a spatially explicit snowmelt model to reconstruct snow water equivalent (SWE) in the Rio Grande headwaters (3419 kin). A linear optimization scheme was used to derive SCA estimates that preserve the statistical moments of the higher spatial resolution (i.e. 30 m) ETM+ data and resolve the superior temporal signal (i.e. similar to daily) of the MODIS data. It was found that merging the two SCA products led to an 8% decrease and an 18% increase in the basinwide SWE in 2001 and 2002, respectively, compared to the SWE estimated from ETM+ only. Relative to SWE simulations using only ETM+ data, the hybrid SCA estimates reduced the mean absolute SWE error by 17 and 84% in 2001 and 2002, respectively; errors were determined using intensive snow survey data and two separate methods of scaling snow survey field measurements of SWE to the 1-km model pixel resolution. SWE bias for both years was reduced by 49% and skewness was reduced from -0.78 to 0.49. These results indicate that the hybrid SWE was closer to being an unbiased estimate of the measured SWE and errors were distributed more normally. The accuracy of the SCA estimates is likely dependent on the vegetation fraction. Published by Elsevier Inc.