Satellite Perspectives on the Spatial Extent of New Snowfall in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Johnathan Wendell Sugg (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
L. Baker Perry

Abstract: The Southern Appalachian Mountains (SAM) are a heavily forested mid-latitude mountain region which provide an ideal location for assessing the suitability of satellite-derived snow maps and explicitly linking atmospheric circulation to the spatial patterns of new snowfall. Although a variety of synoptic-scale circulation regimes contribute to mean annual snowfall, atmospheric circulation processes have largely been absent from efforts seeking to quantify the spatial patterns of new snowfall. This thesis examines the suitability of fractional snow cover (FSC) maps from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to determine the spatial extent of snowfall according to synoptic-scale circulation. FSC maps are analyzed after 122 snowfall events from 2006-12 to provide a suitability analysis of MODIS products for use in the SAM. Results indicate that the SAM presents unique meteorological, physical, and spectral characteristics that are ideal for evaluating the suitability of MODIS for measuring snow cover. Out of 122 observed snow events, 63 are considered suitable for analysis with the FSC maps. The highest FSC values are observed after Gulf/Atlantic Lows and on windward slopes during Northwest Flow snowfall. MODIS data can be successfully used to link broader atmospheric circulation processes of snowfall with the spatial patterns of snow cover.

Additional Information

Sugg, J.W. (2013). Satellite Perspectives on the Spatial Extent of New Snowfall in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2013
MODIS, Remote Sensing, Snow, Southern Appalachian Mountains, Synoptic-scale circulation

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