Chiu, J; Paredes-Mesa, S; Lakhankar, T; Romanov, P; Krakauer, N; Khanbilvardi, R; Ferraro, R (2020). Intercomparison and Validation of MIRS, MSPPS, and IMS Snow Cover Products. ADVANCES IN METEOROLOGY, 2020, 4532478.

We evaluate the agreement between automated snow products generated from satellite observations in the microwave bands within NESDIS Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MIRS) and Microwave Surface and Precipitation Products System (MSPPS), on the one hand, and snow cover maps produced with manual input by the NOAA's Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS), on the other. MIRS uses physically based retrievals of atmospheric and surface state parameters to provide daily global maps of snow cover and snow water equivalent at 50 km resolution. The older MSPPS delivers daily global maps at the spatial resolution of 45 km and utilizes mostly simple empirical algorithms to retrieve information. IMS daily maps of snow and sea ice cover for the Northern Hemisphere are produced interactively through the analysis of satellite imagery in the visible, infrared, and microwave spectral bands. We compare the performances of these products across the Northern Hemisphere for 2014-2017, using IMS as the standard. In this intercomparison, the daily overall agreement of the automated snow products with IMS ranges between 88% and 99% for MIRS and 87% and 99% for MSPPS. However, daily snow sensitivity is lower, ranging between 36% and 90% for MIRS and 26% and 91% for MSPPS. We analyze this disagreement rate as a function of terrain and land cover type, finding that, relative to IMS, MIRS shows fewer false positives but more false negatives than MSPPS over high elevation and grassland areas.