Vol. 4, No. 1, 119-129, 2005

Snow depth mapping in the Alps: Merging of in situ and remotely-sensed data
Nando Foppa, Andreas Stoffel and Roland Meister

The Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos (SLF) publishes daily snow and avalanche information including snow depth maps on a spatial resolution of 1x1 km2 for Switzerland. These maps are generated using a spatial interpolation technique based on snow station measurements. Although the station network has become denser over the past years, several regions do not contribute well to the network. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor is used to improve the information on snow-covered ground. The fusion of point measurements with small-scale remote sensing data leads to an improved area-wide snow information. The presented merging technique based on virtual snow stations is applied for a case study on the Swiss Alps on 4 January 2005. The combination technique is a new approach and the resulting nation-wide snow depth maps show a significant improvement compared to the conventional interpolation with a more accurate snow – no snow borderline. The interpolation method seems to be sensitive to an accurate snow - no snow classification of the satellite data. The preliminary results are very promising and a near-real time application is already in operational use. Ongoing work is concentrating on the validation of the snow cover maps and improvements to the spatial interpolation method.

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Submitted: 23 Feb 2005
Revised: 11 Aug 2005
Accepted: 26 Aug 2005

Foppa N, A Stoffel & R Meister, 2005. Snow depth mapping in the Alps: Merging of in situ and remotely-sensed data. EARSeL eProceedings, 4(1), 119-129


EARSeL European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories, Strasbourg, France


BIS Library and Information System, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg


ISSN 1729-3782