National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Date of this Version
On December 18, 1999, the Terra satellite was launched with a complement of five instruments including the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Many geophysical products are derived from MODIS data including global snow-cover products. MODIS snow and ice products have been available through the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) since September 13, 2000. MODIS snow-cover products represent potential improvement to or enhancement of the currently available operational products mainly because the MODIS products are global and 500-m resolution, and have the capability to separate most snow and clouds. The MODIS snow-mapping algorithms are automated, which means that a consistent data set may be generated for long-term climate studies that require snow-cover information. Extensive quality assurance (QA) information is stored with the products. The MODIS snow product suite begins with a 500-m resolution, 2330-km swath snow-cover map, which is then gridded to an integerized sinusoidal grid to produce daily and 8-day composite tile products. The sequence proceeds to a climate-modeling grid (CMG) product at 0.05° resolution, with both daily and 8-day composite products. Each pixel of the daily CMG contains fraction of snow cover from 40% to 100%. Measured errors of commission in the CMG are low, for example, on the continent of Australia in the spring, they vary from 0.02% to 0.10%. Near-term enhancements include daily snow albedo and fractional snow cover. A case study from March 6, 2000, involving MODIS data and field and aircraft measurements, is presented to show some early validation work.
Published in Remote Sensing of Environment 83 (2002).