Snow water equivalent retrieval over Idaho – Part 2: Using L-band UAVSAR repeat-pass interferometry

Hoppinen, Zachary; Oveisgharan, Shadi; Marshall, Hans-Peter; Mower, Ross; Elder, Kelly; Vuyovich, Carrie

This study evaluates using interferometry on low-frequency synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to monitor snow water equivalent (SWE) over seasonal and synoptic scales. We retrieved SWE changes from nine pairs of SAR images, mean 8 d temporal baseline, captured by an L-band aerial platform, NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), over central Idaho as part of the NASA SnowEx 2020 and 2021 campaigns. The retrieved SWE changes were compared against coincident in situ measurements (SNOTEL and snow pits from the SnowEx field campaign) and to 100 m gridded SnowModel modeled SWE changes. The comparison of in situ to retrieved measurements shows a strong Pearson correlation (inline-formulaR=0.80) and low RMSE (0.1 m, inline-formulan=64) for snow depth change and similar results for SWE change (RMSE inline-formula= 0.04 m, inline-formulaR=0.52, inline-formulan=57). The comparison between retrieved SWE changes to SnowModel SWE change also showed good correlation (inline-formulaR=0.60, RMSD inline-formula= 0.023 m, inline-formula M8inlinescrollmathml n = normal 3.2 × normal 10 normal 6 64pt14ptsvg-formulamathimgff50d2012987d1562d71d16b09a6e75c tc-18-575-2024-ie00001.svg64pt14pttc-18-575-2024-ie00001.png ) and especially high correlation for a subset of pixels with no modeled melt and low tree coverage (inline-formulaR=0.72, RMSD inline-formula= 0.013 m, inline-formula M11inlinescrollmathml n = normal 6.5 × normal 10 normal 4 64pt14ptsvg-formulamathimg94880f843809c791a391af0776299e29 tc-18-575-2024-ie00002.svg64pt14pttc-18-575-2024-ie00002.png ). Finally, we bin the retrievals for a variety of factors and show decreasing correlation between the modeled and retrieved values for lower elevations, higher incidence angles, higher tree percentages and heights, and greater cumulative melt. This study builds on previous interferometry work by using a full winter season time series of L-band SAR images over a large spatial extent to evaluate the accuracy of SWE change retrievals against both in situ and modeled results and the controlling factors of the retrieval accuracy.

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Hoppinen, Zachary / Oveisgharan, Shadi / Marshall, Hans-Peter / et al: Snow water equivalent retrieval over Idaho – Part 2: Using L-band UAVSAR repeat-pass interferometry. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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