Estimating Regional Snow Line Elevation Using Public Webcam Images

Portenier, Céline; Hasler, Martina; Wunderle, Stefan (2022). Estimating Regional Snow Line Elevation Using Public Webcam Images. Remote sensing, 14(19), p. 4730. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs14194730

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Snow cover is of high relevance for the Earth’s climate system, and its variability plays a key role in alpine hydrology, ecology, and socioeconomic systems. Measurements obtained by optical satellite remote sensing are an essential source for quantifying snow cover variability from a local to global scale. However, the temporal resolution of such measurements is often affected by persistent cloud coverage, limiting the application of high resolution snow cover mapping. In this study, we derive the regional snow line elevation in an alpine catchment area using public webcams. We compare our results to the snow line information derived from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Sentinel-2 snow cover products and find our results to be in good agreement therewith. Between October 2017 and the end of June 2018, snow lines derived from webcams lie on average 55.8 m below and 33.7 m above MODIS snow lines using a normalized-difference snow index (NDSI) of 0.4 and 0.1, respectively, and are on average 53.1 m below snow lines derived from Sentinel-2. We further analyze the superior temporal resolution of webcam-based snow cover information and demonstrate its effectiveness in filling temporal gaps in satellite-based measurements caused by cloud cover. Our findings show the ability of webcam-based snow line elevation retrieval to complement and improve satellite-based measurements.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Remote Sensing
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Portenier, Céline Christine, Wunderle, Stefan


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel




Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI




Céline Christine Portenier

Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2022 12:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:26

Publisher DOI:





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