Science Service System

Summary of Proposal HYD0096

TitleImproving Hydrological Modelling in Snow and Glaciated Basins
Investigator Nagler, Thomas - ENVEO, N/A
Team Members
Prof. Dr. Rott, Helmut - University of Innsbruck, Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics
Dr. Cline, Donald - National Weather Service, NOAA, National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center

The project is aimed at the development of algorithms for the retrieval of improved snow and ice information products from TerraSAR-X data. The high quality products are critical input for hydrological runoff models in alpine regions as well as physical snow and ice models applied for estimating the glacier mass balance, which is an important indicator for climate change. The project team comprises three partners with expertise in radar remote sensing of snow, signature research and theoretical modelling of radar backscatter from snow, algorithm development and the use of remote sensing data in hydrological and glaciological process models. The methodological developments will be based on field measurements, theoretical backscatter modelling and signature analysis. Test sites for field measurements are located in the Eastern Alps of Austria and in Alaska, US, enabling studies of X-Band backscattering for a wide range of different snow conditions. In Alaska the TerraSAR-X acquisitions will contribute to the NASA Cold Land Processes Experiment-2 (CLPX-2), a field experiment with detailed snow measurements and coincident measurements of various airborne sensors dedicated to improve the retrieval of snow products from remote sensing data in high latitudes. In the Alpine test sites snow parameters will be measured during TerrSAR-X data takes. Prototype algorithms for improved snow products will be developed using specific TerraSAR-X imaging modes (Stripmap, ScanSAR, single versus dual polarisation). Time series of improved snow products will be generated for two snow seasons in 2008 and 2009 and their usability for hydrological runoff simulations in alpine watersheds and for glacier mass balance modelling will be demonstrated.

The main expected results are the evaluation of the applicability of theoretical backscatter models for different snow conditions at X-Band, the development of prototype algorithms for generating improved snow products from different TerraSAR-X imaging modes, generation of times series of snow information products, and the assessment of their suitability in hydrological and cryospheric process models.

Technical Notes and publications in scientific journals on the project results will be compiled, including Technical Notes on Signature analysis and theoretical backscatter modelling (D1), Prototype algorithms for improved snow products (D2), Demonstration of hydrological runoff and glacier mass balance modelling using improved TerraSAR-X snow products (D3), and Assessment of Results (D4).

The work planned in this proposal is supported by the Austrian Space Program. The CLPX-2 field campaigns are financed by NASA’s Terrestrial Hydrology Program.

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