May 2014

Satellite Rain-On-Snow Detection to Help Reindeer Herders

Photo showing rain on snow.

NASA awarded the research proposal entitled “Satellite Rain-On-Snow Detection: A New Climate Change Product” submitted to the Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division, in response to NASA's Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science "The Science of Terra and Aqua". The project's team is international and composed of:

  • Ludovic Brucker (NASA GSFC / USRA GESTAR)
  • Joe Munchak (NASA GSFC / Uni. of Maryland)
  • Nancy Maynard (NASA GSFC / Uni. of Miami)
  • Alexandre Langlois and Caroline Dolant (University of Sherbrooke, Canada)
  • Anders Oskal, Executive Director, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR)
  • Inger Marie Gaup Eira (Dr.), Assoc. Professor, Vice-Rector, Sámi University College, Norway and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR)
  • Svein D Mathiesen (Dr.), Institute Leader, Professor, University of the Arctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry (UArctic EALÁT Institute at ICR

The objective is to develop a satellite algorithm using the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometers (AMSR-E and AMSR2) for detecting rain-on-snow events daily over the subarctic regions. This will provide a new indicator for wintertime climate change monitoring, and it will help communities of native Arctic reindeer herders with climate adaptation to improve herd management. The algorithm will be validated using satellite rainfall data from the new Global Precipitation Measurement mission, and in-situ measurements in Northern Canada. Some ground-based observations as well as efficient dissemination of satellite ROS product to reindeer herders and managers across the Arctic will be implemented through the U Arctic EALAT Institute on Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry, the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, the Reindeer Portal, and the Arctic Portal.

If you are interested in a preliminary version of the data product, please contact Lucovic Brucker.

New Member of The Lab

Photo of Christine Dow.

Christine Dow joined NASA GSFC’s Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory in April as a postdoctoral research fellow. Following on from her PhD research focused on subglacial hydrological development as a result of rapid lake drainage events in Greenland, Christine will be applying hydrological models to assess the stability and hydrological balance of sub-Antarctic lakes. Her modeling will be focused on the Recovery Lakes, using data from NASA's Operation IceBridge for validation. This research will allow examination of the role of sub-Antarctic lakes in ice stream dynamics that, in turn, are important arteries of the Antarctic ice sheets.