An Evaluation of Satellite Retrievals of Snowfall in Regions of Complex Terrain
This study seeks to investigate the skill level of current spaceborne snowfall products over the complex terrain of the Rocky Mountains in the western United States. Satellite derived snowfall products from measurements obtained via instruments including the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), EOS Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E), and GCOM-W1 Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) are evaluated using ground-based observations such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) data and the NCEP Stage IV data. Satellite derived snowfall variables including snowfall rate and snow water equivalent are compared to ground-based observations to determine the overall accuracy and skill level of current satellite derived snowfall products in the region of interest. An analysis is also done to determine how the accuracy and skill level change based on varying snowfall regimes such as light, moderate, and heavy snowfall events. The knowledge gained will be used to determine how satellite derived snowfall measurements in regions of complex terrain may be improved upon for future missions including GPM.