Mapping Snow Grain Size Using LiDAR Intensity (Extended Abstract)

TitleMapping Snow Grain Size Using LiDAR Intensity (Extended Abstract)
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2021
AuthorsAckroyd, Chelsea, and S. Skiles McKenzie
Conference Name88th Annual Western Snow Conference
Conference LocationBozeman, MT
Keywordsintensity, LiDAR, radiometric correction, remote sensing, snow grain size

Net solar radiation is the primary driver of snowmelt, which is mainly determined by snow albedo. Controls on snow albedo vary spectrally: in the visible wavelengths it is controlled by light-absorbing particles, including dust and black carbon. For clean snow, snow albedo is dependent upon ice absorption in the near infrared wavelengths, typically characterized using the effective grain size (Warren, 1982). Grain size is currently estimated using radiative transfer inversion methods that leverage reflectance data from passive optical remote sensing imagery. Theoretically, it may also be possible to relate lidar intensity to grain size when the wavelength of the lidar is in the near-infrared wavelengths: smaller grains would reflect more light back to the sensor, larger grains would reflect less. This indicates that lidar could be used to retrieve surface optical properties. Here, we evaluate how well aerial lidar intensity at 1064 nm can be related to the grain size of snow at the basin-scale.