With its high reflectivity, insulating properties, and cooling of the atmosphere, snow exerts a tremendous influence on climate. The seasonal effect of snow runoff on surface hydrology impacts water supplies and generation of hydroelectricity, and results in significant flooding in some parts of Canada. Snow influences ecosystems and is important for conservation of biodiversity. Estimation of snow cover and snow properties is important for input to hydrological applications such as modeling and forecasting runoff from snow melt as well as understanding changes in local, and regional climatic regimes.
Scientists at the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation have been developing satellite-based methodologies for producing useful snow cover products that map snow cover extent at regional, national and hemispheric scales. This work ensures that Canadians have access to the most accurate and stable measure of changes in snow cover and the resultant impacts.