The image above shows the snow depth in the Northern Hemisphere on December 7, 2002, derived from the National Space Development Agency of Japan’s (NASDA) Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) on the Aqua satellite. The data shown were collected during the north-to-south (“descending”) portions of the Aqua orbit. The snow covering the land in winter will provide soil moisture in spring when the snow melts. Low frequency channels (6.9 and 10.7 GHz) of AMSR-E may improve upon the snow depth estimations from earlier passive microwave satellite instruments for heavy snow storage regions. Novel geophysical parameters, including soil moisture, will also be retrieved using these low frequency channels.
Image courtesy Al Chang, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the AMSR-E Science Team.