Westdc Logo

Snow Grain-Size Estimation Using Hyperion Imagery in a Typical Area of the Heihe River Basin, China



It is difficult and time consuming to use traditional measurement methods to estimate the physical properties of snow. However, the emergence of hyperspectral imagery for estimating the physical properties of snow provides a powerful tool. Snow albedo, grain size, and temperature are important factors for evaluating the surface energy balance. Using the spectrum-reflection curves of the different grain sizes of snow measured in the fields of the Binggou watershed of the Heihe River Basin, China, we analyzed the spectral reflection characteristics of snow. A statistical detection method was used to choose the most sensitive bands in the field spectra and find the corresponding band (band 89) in the Hyperion imagery. The bands near 1033 nm were sensitive to the snow grain size. According to the relationship between the snow grain size and the measured spectrum, we built a snow grain-size estimation model. The results showed that the snow reflectance had a good linear and exponential relationship with the snow grain size. The correlation coefficients of the two models were 0.81 and 0.84, respectively. We obtained the location of the absorption valley at the near-infrared wavelength, and the results showed that 6.9% of the pixels were affected by the snow water content. The locations of the absorption valley moved 1–4 bands from band 89 to shorter wavelengths. The accuracy of the snow grain size estimates based on the Hyperion imagery was relatively high.


  • estimation model
  • Heihe River Basin
  • Hyperion
  • snow grain size


Zhao, Shuhe, Jiang, Tenglong, Wang, Zhaojun. Snow Grain-Size Estimation Using Hyperion Imagery in a Typical Area of the Heihe River Basin, China. Remote Sensing, 2013, 5(1):238-253. doi:10.3390/rs5010238