Monitoring White Christmas Snow Melt with MODIS Data

The Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama and southern middle Tennessee received widespread snowfall on Christmas Day 2010, marking the heaviest–and in some cases the first–snowfall on record for Christmas Day.  Any snow that melted on the afternoon of the 25th was replaced by so-called “wraparound” snow showers later on the 25th into the 26th, while temperatures stayed close to the freezing mark.  This resulted in a snow pack that persisted several days after the event, compared to many events which see snow melt the same day.  MODIS data from SPoRT aided in monitoring the melting of the snow pack.

First, the MODIS natural color and false color imagery from 1633 UTC on the 27th:

1km MODIS Natural Color Image (1633 UTC 12/27/10)

1km MODIS Natural Color Image (1633 UTC 12/27/10)

1km MODIS False-Color Imagery (1633 UTC 12/27/10)

1km MODIS False-Color Imagery (1633 UTC 12/27/10)

As temperatures rose into the 40s on December 28, the melting accelerated:

1km MODIS False-Color Image (1858 UTC 12/28/10)

1km MODIS False-Color Image (1858 UTC 12/28/10)

A slightly closer view of the normal visible imagery reinforced what we saw out our own back door:

250m MODIS Visible Image (1858 UTC 12/28/10)

250m MODIS Visible Image (1858 UTC 12/28/10)

The southwest-to-northeast oriented snow pack suggested by MODIS meshed well with reports received by NWS Huntsville, as indicated by this plotted and analyzed map on the WFO web page:

December 25-26 Snowfall Totals

December 25-26 Snowfall Totals: from NWS Huntsville web page on White Christmas 2010

By December 29th, highs in the 50s melted any lingering snowfall.

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