Liu, CY; Huang, XD; Li, XB; Liang, TG (2020). MODIS Fractional Snow Cover Mapping Using Machine Learning Technology in a Mountainous Area. REMOTE SENSING, 12(6), 962.

To improve the poor accuracy of the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) daily fractional snow cover product over the complex terrain of the Tibetan Plateau (RMSE = 0.30), unmanned aerial vehicle and machine learning technologies are employed to map the fractional snow cover based on MODIS over this terrain. Three machine learning models, including random forest, support vector machine, and back-propagation artificial neural network models, are trained and compared in this study. The results indicate that compared with the MODIS daily fractional snow cover product, the introduction of a highly accurate snow map acquired by unmanned aerial vehicles as a reference into machine learning models can significantly improve the MODIS fractional snow cover mapping accuracy. The random forest model shows the best accuracy among the three machine learning models, with an RMSE (root-mean-square error) of 0.23, especially over forestland and shrubland, with RMSEs of 0.13 and 0.18, respectively. Although the accuracy of the support vector machine and back-propagation artificial neural network models are worse over forestland and shrubland, their average errors are still better than that of MOD10A1. Different fractional snow cover gradients also affect the accuracy of the machine learning algorithms. Nevertheless, the random forest model remains stable in different fractional snow cover gradients and is, therefore, the best machine learning algorithm for MODIS fractional snow cover mapping in Tibetan Plateau areas with complex terrain and severely fragmented snow cover.