MODIS Maps Weekend Snow Cover in the Tennessee Valley

From the traditional GOES satellite imagery used to monitor atmospheric and surface characteristics over a given region, clouds are difficult to distinguish from snow on the ground because of the similarity in the  albedo of these features at visible wavelengths.  However, the multispectral channels on the MODIS scanner, aboard the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites, have the ability to differentiate  between clouds and snow on the ground because these channels are sensitive to the albedo difference between snow and clouds at near-infrared wavelengths.  The figure below demonstrates this capability for the recent snow storm in the Tennessee River Valley.  In the image, clouds remain white, while snow on the ground is designated  by various shades of red.

MODIS false color snow image from January 31, 2010 at 1919UTC differentiating clouds from snow on the ground.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s