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Summary of Proposal HYD3333

TitleMonitoring snow properties using X-band radar satellite data
Investigator Cetinic, Frano - Globesar, N/A
Team Member
Senior Researcher Malnes, Eirik - EM, Northern Research Institute Tromsų (Norut)
Researcher Hindberg, Heidi - HH, Northern Research Institute Tromsų
Project Manager Andersen, Tom - TEA, Globesar AS
SummaryThe project will meet a major need for improved methods to measure the water content in snow packs. Knowledge on the water content of snow accumulation in the Norwegian mountains is of great importance for risk analysis, production planning and market analysis in the hydro power industry,but also for organizations within the field of flood forecasting. The project manager, Globesar AS, has executed a pilot project covering large mountainous areas, that shows a relationship between the changes in signals from radar satellite measurements and the amount of water a snow pack holds. The method applied is based on performing multiple radar satellite measurements with a frequency that penetrates the snow-pack and in where the reflecting radar signals change with varying size of the snow pack. Satelliteradar measurements from the satellites TerraSAR-X will mainly be applied in this project with frequent measurement throughout a period of 3 years. A total of 100-150 scenes would be required. By analyzing the variations in the signals from continuous measurements, covering the same geographical area, the method can retrieve an estimation of the water content covering the snow-pack and consequently the water content in a catchment area can be calculated. Since the satellite measurements cover a large geographical area, approximately 250km x 250km, in a single measurement, large areas can be measured much more efficiently than with conventional methods. Today the size of the snow pack in catchment areas is estimated using various modelling tools single point measurements or measurement along predefined routes. However due to the continuous variation of a snow pack during a winter season and from season to season, these methods can bring high uncertainty in the estimation of water content for large geographical areas. The project is divided in multiple steps. The project will further develop the theoretical method to determine its potential and limitations. An automated production system will be developed, to minimize manual involvement and enable fast delivery of products to users. The resulting snow products will be validated in collaboration with partners using conventional methods and model simulations during three winter periods. Finally, the goal is to demonstrate a commercial service at the end of the project. The project budget is approximately EUR 710 000. Financing is collected from Globesar, Norwegian Research Council and participating hydro power companies.

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