Passive Microwave Based Snow Melt in the Yukon River Basin

Joan RamageLehigh University, and Rose McKenney, Pacific Lutheran University



For information on graduate research opportunities please see the EES webpage [] or contact Dr. Joan Ramage []

Pelly Crossing, YT, Summer 2003

AMSR-E Derived Snow Melt Timing and its Hydro-geomorphic Influences in Heterogeneous Terrain, Upper Yukon River Basin

Funded by NASA EOS 2004 and involving field and satellite studies 2004 - 2008.


This project will use Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) data and derived products to determine snowpack characteristics, in particular melt timing and dynamics, in the upper Yukon River basin , a large northern watershed. Passive microwave data will be used to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of snow distribution and melt dynamics in heterogeneous terrain and its effects on terrestrial hydrology and channel dynamics in the upper Yukon River basin , a high relief, remote, dissected region that includes both glaciers and seasonal snow cover. Spatial and temporal distribution of snow storage and melt patterns on seasonal to interannual time scales vary widely and are not well constrained. The goal is to take a drainage basin scale approach to understanding variations in snow distribution, melt timing and duration, and to quantify the effects on hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecologic regimes. The approach will focus on using AMSR-E data to analyze snowpack properties and melt timing, and to link these processes to the hydrologic systems within the basin. To accomplish these goals over a longer time period, we will also work on integrating data from earlier passive microwave sensors, specifically the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I). Field observations of snowpack properties and fluvial and geomorphic responses will be conducted for 3 seasons.

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