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Snow persistence grids and snow zone shape files for the western United States




Moore, Cara
Kampf, Stephanie
Stone, Brandon
Richer, Eric

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This study maps the geographic extent of intermittent and seasonal snow cover in the western United States using thresholds of 2000–2010 average snow persistence derived from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer snow cover area data from 1 January to 3 July. Results show seasonal snow covers 13% of the region, and intermittent snow covers 25%. The lower elevation boundaries of intermittent and seasonal snow zones increase from north-west to south-east. Intermittent snow is primarily found where average winter land surface temperatures are above freezing, whereas seasonal snow is primarily where winter temperatures are below freezing. However, temperatures at the boundary between intermittent and seasonal snow exhibit high regional variability, with average winter seasonal snow zone temperatures above freezing in west coast mountain ranges. Snow cover extent at peak accumulation is most variable at the upper elevations of the intermittent snow zone, highlighting the sensitivity of this snow zone boundary to climate conditions.


These files were created by Cara Moore and Brandon Stone under the guidance of Stephanie Kampf at Colorado State University in July, 2012.
Zip file includes ReadMe and data files.
Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL)

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seasonal snow
intermittent snow
snow zones
MODIS snow cover
MODIS land surface temperature
western United States


Associated Publications

Moore, Cara, Stephanie Kampf, Brandon Stone and Eric Richer, A GIS-Based Method for Defining Snow Zones: Application to the Western United States. Geocarto International 30 ,no. 1 (2015): 1-20.