Research

AMSR2 Snow Mapping Project

As the PI for JAXA’s standard snow depth product from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – 2 (AMSR2) aboard the GCOM-W1 mission, we are involved with estimating snow accumulation from satellite passive microwave observations at regional to global scales. This work builds on NASA research  and has developed the Satellite-based Microwave Snow Algorithm.

Funding: JAXA/NSERC

Ground-based Radar Remote Sensing

Ku- and X-Band scatterometer observations of snow. This research is science discovery exploring seasonal radar signatures of snow cover accumulation for potential space-based snow mapping missions designed for unprecedented spatial resolution observations. The project has deployed the system in Churchill Manitoba during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 winter seasons. in 2013-14 and 2014-15 winters, deployments were conducted in S. Ontario. The equipment for this project forms part of our Cryospheric Remote Sensing Laboratory which was funded under CFI (with Claude Duguay).

Radarsat-2 observations of soil moisture and soil state. Our studies are also concerned with Radarsat-2 C-band observations of soil moisture, specially using polarimetric observations and estimates of derivative variables from the compact polarimetric simulator as applied to Radarsat-2. The study has focused on sites in S. Ontario.

Funding: CFI/ESA/CSA/NSERC

Airborne Radar Remote Sensing (CryoSAR system)

The CryoSAR instrument will be a dual frequency Ku and L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system designed for cold season science applications.  The CRyoSAR system will be capable of making backscatter and phase measurements of snow and ice on land, lakes and the ocean which can be used to estimate the snow total accumulation on land, on freshwater and sea ice, and of water in the soil. CryoSAR will build on recent ground-based site-specific experiments in mid-latitude, sub-Arctic and Arctic environments that have succeeded in characterizing snow and ice properties at small sites.

Funding: CFI, Province of Ontario, University of Waterloo

Snowtweets Project

This project explores the application of web-based digital technologies to map snow depth through community participation. In other words, we have set up an environment to enable people to ‘tweet’ snow depth measurements which we map. Costly snow depth information from environmental agencies has been declining for many years and one way to augment this information is through community involvement in measuring meteorological and hydrological variables. This project aims to do so in a simple way through using widely used web-based services to communicate local measurements of snow depth to our web server. Using the Twitter system, we are able to map ‘tweeted’ variables in almost near real time.

If you want to participate, please visit Snowtweets.org.

Funding: NSERC

The Rainwater Harvesting Project

Monitoring monsoon rainwater storage tank environments in S. India using remote sensing is important for feasible and effective water resource management under a changing climate. This work seeks to leverage recent remote sensing and in situ field observations to develop remote sensing methods to a) track monsoon-fed rainwater tanks in S. India and to map invasive plant species in the tank cascades that have th e porential to reduce tan capacities.

Funding: NSERC, University of Waterloo