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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-61
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-61
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Jun 2019

Research article | 06 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Regional influence of ocean-climate teleconnections on the timingand duration of MODIS derived snow cover in British Columbia, Canada

Alexandre R. Bevington1,2, Hunter E. Gleason1, Vanessa N. Foord1, William C. Floyd3,4, and Hardy P. Griesbauer1 Alexandre R. Bevington et al.
  • 1British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Prince George, V2L1R5, Canada
  • 2Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and Geography Program, University of Northern British Columbia,Prince George, V2N 4Z9, Canada
  • 3British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Nanaimo, V9T 6E9, Canada
  • 4Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, V9R 5S5, Canada

Abstract. We use the twice daily Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro–Radiometer (MODIS) snow cover product to study the regional influence of the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) on snow cover in British Columbia (BC). We apply a locally weighted regression (LOWESS) interpolation to the MODIS normalized difference snow index (NDSI) time series to detect the timing and duration of snow. We confirm the general consensus from many previous in situ studies that both ONI and PDO have significant impacts on snow cover in BC. We add to this knowledge by performing seasonal and regional analysis using established hydrozones, and explore variation in our results by elevation bins of 500 m. We calibrated our method with in situ snow water equivalent (SWE) data, and found an optimal NDSI threshold of 30 for detecting continuous snow cover.We separate automatic snow weather station data into calibration (75 %) and validation (25 %) subsets and obtain mean absolute errors between the MODIS and in situ observations for the start, end and duration of 8.7, 8.9 and 13.1 days for the calibration data, and 12.7, 12.6 and 16.6 for the validation data, respectively. In general, the start date of snow is poorly correlated with both ONI and PDO, whereas end date and duration are strongly negatively correlated. Regional patterns emerge where northern and southern BC are most correlated to the PDO and the ONI, respectively. These relationships are generally stronger at lower elevations, and vary spatially. This study demonstrates that the suitability of ocean-climate teleconnections as predictors of the timing and duration of snow varies throughout BC.

Alexandre R. Bevington et al.
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Short summary
We investigate the influence of ocean-climate teleconnections on the start, end and duration of snow cover in British Columbia, Canada. We do this using daily satellite imagery from 2002–2018 and assess the accuracy of our methods using reported snow cover at 60 weather stations. We found that there are very strong relationships that they vary by region and elevation. This improves our understanding of snow cover distribution, and could be used to predict snow cover from ocean-climate indices.
We investigate the influence of ocean-climate teleconnections on the start, end and duration of...
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