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A Blended In Situ-Satellite Snow Water Equivalent Data Set

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Created: Sep 30, 2020 at 2:34 p.m.
Last updated: Oct 30, 2021 at 7:38 p.m.
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This study first compares two different passive microwave snow water equivalent (SWE) retrievals, namely the retrieval from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and that from the Global Change Observation Mission – Water (GCOM-W1) Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2); it further creates an optimal blending mechanism that merges the two retrievals with in situ observations from the Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) and Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) networks. The assessments of the two products are done over conterminous United States (CONUS) for the snow seasons (November–June) of the water years 2017–2019 using in situ data and the SNOw Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) SWE analysis. Both satellite products tend to underestimate SWE. Between the two, AMSR2 retrieval outperforms in terms of correlation with observations and depth of saturation, but it exhibits a distinctive, seasonally varying bias that is not seen in ATMS retrieval. The negative bias over the early snow season, as further analysis indicates, most likely stems from AMSR2 retrieval’s use of a high frequency channel (i.e., 89 GHz) for shallow snow detection, while the impact of differing assumptions of snow density is marginal. The blending scheme, developed on the basis of the validation experiment, features a histogram-based bias correction as a supplement to optimal interpolation. Cross-validation suggests that interpolated station product without the satellite background broadly underperforms the blended in situ-satellite product, confirming the utility of the satellite retrievals. Furthermore, the a priori bias correction mechanism is shown to be effective in mitigating large fluctuations in bias. Finally, the bias-corrected, blended in situ-satellite product performs comparably or even favorably against SNODAS over many parts of the CONUS, with important implications for joint use of satellite and in situ observations for hydrological monitoring and forecasting.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Conterminous United States
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Start Date:
End Date:


Related Resources

The content of this resource is derived from Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) snow water equivalent
The content of this resource is derived from Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) snow water equivalent
The content of this resource is derived from Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) snow cover
The content of this resource is derived from Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) snow depth
The content of this resource is derived from Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) snow water equivalent


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration #NA18OAR4590410

How to Cite

Gan, Y. (2021). A Blended In Situ-Satellite Snow Water Equivalent Data Set, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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