Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Review article
18 Jun 2015
Review article |  | 18 Jun 2015

A long-term Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent data record for climate studies and monitoring

T. W. Estilow, A. H. Young, and D. A. Robinson

Abstract. This paper describes the long-term, satellite-based visible snow cover extent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate data record (CDR) currently available for climate studies, monitoring, and model validation. This environmental data product is developed from weekly Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent data that have been digitized from snow cover maps onto a Cartesian grid draped over a polar stereographic projection. The data have a spatial resolution of 190.6 km at 60° latitude, are updated monthly, and span the period from 4 October 1966 to the present. The data comprise the longest satellite-based CDR of any environmental variable. Access to the data is provided in Network Common Data Form (netCDF) and archived by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) under the satellite Climate Data Record Program (doi:10.7289/V5N014G9). The basic characteristics, history, and evolution of the data set are presented herein. In general, the CDR provides similar spatial and temporal variability to its widely used predecessor product. Key refinements included in the CDR improve the product's grid accuracy and documentation and bring metadata into compliance with current standards for climate data records.