A novel approach for the retrieval of snow water equivalent using sar data

Akshay Patil, Gulab Singh, Christoph Rüdiger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


Over the last decade, many snowpack parameter retrieval algorithms utilizing C- and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data have been proposed. These algorithms are capable of retrieving snow density and snow wetness accurately, but not Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). In this paper, a novel approach of SWE estimation is proposed based on TerraSAR-X full-polarimetric data. A unique relationship between the extinction coefficient of the snowpack and snow wetness is built and verified with field data. This relationship enables the retrieval of Snow Depth (SD) and SWE using existing snow density algorithm and volume scattering power. The validation of SD and SWE is carried out with near-real-time ground truth measurements. The accuracy assessment for SD showed Mean Absolute (MAE) and Root Mean Squared (RMSE) Errors of 15 cm and 16 cm, respectively. On the other hand, SWE retrievals resulted in MAE and RMSE of 22.7 mm and 30 mm, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIGARSS 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventIEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium 2019 - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 28 Jul 20192 Aug 2019
Conference number: 39th
https://igarss2019.org/ (Website)
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/conhome/8891871/proceeding (Proceedings)


ConferenceIEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium 2019
Abbreviated titleIGARSS 2019
Internet address


  • Snow depth
  • Snow water equivalent
  • Synthetic aperture radar

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