Spatial time-series analysis of satellite derived snow water equivalence.




Farmer, Carson John Quentry

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As the need to understand climate induced changes increases, so too does the need to understand the long-term spatial-temporal characteristics of snow cover and snow water equivalence (SWE). Snow cover and SWE are useful indicators of climate change. In this research, we combine methods from spatial statistics, geographic information systems (GIS), time-series analysis, ecosystems classification, cluster analysis, and remote sensing, to provide a unique perspective on the spatial-temporal interactions of SWE. We show that within the Canadian Prairies, extreme SWE are becoming more spatially constrained, and may cause some regions to be more prone to flooding. As well, we find that the temporal characteristics of SWE are not captured by current ecological management units, highlighting the need for Canadian ecological management units that consider winter conditions. We then address this need by developing methods designed to generate geographically distinct SWE regimes. These regimes are used to partition the landscape into winter-based management units, and compared with conventional summer based units. We find that regional variations in the ability of current ecological units to capture SWE characteristics exist, and suggest that SWE regimes generated as a result of this analysis should be used as guidelines for developing winter-based management units in conjunction with current ecological stratifications.



climatic changes, snow cover, GIS, Prairie Provinces