Wang, XY; Chen, SY; Wang, J (2020). An Adaptive Snow Identification Algorithm in the Forests of Northeast China. IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATIONS AND REMOTE SENSING, 13, 5211-5222.

Northeast China is one of the primary snow-covered regions, and its forest coverage is over 40%. Forest snow identification is usually a challenging problem, and the SNOMAP algorithm tends to underestimate the amount of snow cover in forest regions for the lower normalized difference snow index. In this article, an improved method of the snow-cover identification based on the Landsat operational land imager is proposed. One improvement includes using the normalized difference forest snow index (NDFSI) to discriminate between snow-covered and snow-free forests. The threshold value of the NDFSI in different forest types is set according to the normalized difference vegetation index. On the other hand, the sun elevation is very low in winter in Northeast China with high latitude; as a result, the snow in shadow areas is usually classified as liquid water for its low near-infrared reflectance in the current SNOMAP algorithm. Then, another improvement is introducing the land surface temperature, which is retrieved from the thermal infrared band to distinguish liquid water from snow in shadow areas. We applied this improved method to evaluate forest areas in the Daxinganling, Xiaoxinganling, and Changbai Mountain areas in different seasons. The total classification accuracy reached 97.5%, and the pixels that introduce omission error and commission error were mainly distributed in areas of dense forest shadows. This improved method retains the computational simplicity and effectiveness of the SNOMAP algorithm in nonforest areas and improves the underestimation of snow cover in forest regions and shadow areas.