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Central Asian Snow Cover Characteristics between 1986 and 2012 derived from Time Series of Medium Resolution Remote Sensing Data

Dietz, Andreas (2013) Central Asian Snow Cover Characteristics between 1986 and 2012 derived from Time Series of Medium Resolution Remote Sensing Data. Dissertation, University of Wuerzburg.

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Official URL: http://opus.bibliothek.uni-wuerzburg.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/10122


The eminent importance of snow cover for climatic, hydrologic, anthropogenic, and economic reasons has been widely discussed in scientific literature. Up to 50% of the Northern Hemisphere is covered by snow at least temporarily, turning snow to the most prevalent land cover types at all. Depending on regular precipitation and temperatures below freezing point it is obvious that a changing climate effects snow cover characteristics fundamentally. Such changes can have severe impacts on local, national, and even global scale. The region of Central Asia is not an exception from this general rule, but are the consequences accompanying past, present, and possible future changes in snow cover parameters of particular importance. Being characterized by continental climate with hot and dry summers most precipitation accumulates during winter and spring months in the form of snow. The population in this 4,000,000 km² vast area is strongly depending on irrigation to facilitate agriculture. Additionally, electricity is often generated by hydroelectric power stations. A large proportion of the employed water originates from snow melt during spring months, implying that changes in snow cover characteristics will automatically affect both the total amount of obtainable water and the time when this water becomes available. The presented thesis explores the question how the spatial extent of snow covered surface has evolved since the year 1986. This investigation is based on the processing of medium resolution remote sensing data originating from daily MODIS and AVHRR sensors, thus forming a unique approach of snow cover analysis in terms of temporal and spatial resolution. Not only duration but also onset and melt of snow coverage are tracked over time, analyzing for systematic changes within this 26 years lasting time span. AVHRR data are processed from raw Level 1B orbit data to Level 3 thematic snow cover products. Both, AVHRR and MODIS snow maps undergo a further post-processing, producing daily full-area mosaics while completely eliminating inherent cloud cover. Snow cover parameters are derived based on these daily and cloud-free time series, allowing for a detailed analysis of current status and changes. The results confirm the predictions made by coarse resolution predictions from climate models: Central Asian snow cover is changing, posing new challenges for the ecosystem and future water supply. The changes, however, are not aimed at only one direction. Regions with decreasing snow cover exist as well as those where the duration of snow cover increases. A shift towards earlier snow cover start and melt can be observed, posing a serious challenge to water management authorities due to a changed runoff regime.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/92860/
Document Type:Thesis (Dissertation)
Title:Central Asian Snow Cover Characteristics between 1986 and 2012 derived from Time Series of Medium Resolution Remote Sensing Data
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Number of Pages:227
Keywords:MODIS; Satellitenfernerkundung; Zentralasien; AVHRR; MODIS; Remote sensing of snow; Snow cover; snow cover duration
Institution:University of Wuerzburg
Department:Department of Remote Sensing
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Geoscientific remote sensing and GIS methods
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center
Deposited By: Dietz, Andreas
Deposited On:04 Dec 2014 14:22
Last Modified:04 Dec 2014 14:22

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