Geospatially extracting snow and ice cover distribution in the cold arid zone of India

Abstract

The snow cover is greatly diverse in distribution due to landscape, slope, duration, wind, etc. However, the snow build-up and spatial patterns play an important role in the hydrological cycle. These characteristics can be determined through a number of weather station which widely represents the entire glacier and hilly region of Leh-Ladakh to support understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of snow cover. Remotely sensed data overcome these natural and other anthropogenic limitations that hinder data collection. Snow and ice cover has a distinct spectral reflectance from the land surfaces, therefore, shortwave infrared (SWIR-1) bands were used to discriminate these. Snow was extracted by applying Normalized Difference Snow Index and Normalized Difference Snow Thermal Index. In this study, snow and ice of different classes like fresh snow, dirty snow, and blue ice from the optical images were interpreted and Landsat 8 OLI and Sentinel-2 images were used to extract both spatial and temporal aspects. Temporal changes of snow and ice in the year of 2015–2017 shows a decline in snow cover area. The accuracy assessment of supervised classification using maximum likelihood and support vector machine accuracy with the Sentinel-2 optical image was compared and it was 94.40%. The landsat-8 image depicted 80.88% accuracy of snow and ice.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the Director, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur for providing facilities to conduct this research. We would also like to thank all the reviewers for the time they dedicated to ensure the quality of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mahesh Kumar Gaur.

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Gaur, M.K., Goyal, R.K., Raghuvanshi, M.S. et al. Geospatially extracting snow and ice cover distribution in the cold arid zone of India. Int J Syst Assur Eng Manag 11, 84–99 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13198-019-00883-w

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Keywords

  • Remote sensing
  • NDSI
  • NDSTI
  • Extraction
  • Snow distribution
  • Ice and avalanche