“WEBSNOW”: ESTIMATION OF SNOW COVER FROM FREELY ACCESSIBLE WEBCAM IMAGES IN THE ALPS
The alpine snow cover exhibits a high spatial variability in the horizontal and vertical directions even on a very small scale, mainly caused by the high variability of alpine terrain. To quantify the annual and inter-annual snow dynamics continuously reliable measurements of the temporal and spatial variability are required. While remote sensing from satellite and aerial platforms have been successfully used to estimate snow cover at larger scales, especially in mountain areas spatial and temporal resolution are too low to capture local changes. In the alpine region, webcam images are freely available for touristic purposes capturing images at high frequency intervals. Within the WebSnow project the feasibility of using such images for the detection of snow was investigated. With the developed workflow, processing times could be reduced and satisfactory results obtained. Our results show, that webcam networks have the potential for monitoring snow at high spatial and temporal resolution.