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Estimation of Daily Spatial Snow Water Equivalent from Historical Snow Maps and Limited In-Situ Measurements

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We present a scheme aimed at estimating daily spatial snow water equivalent (SWE) maps in real time and at high spatial resolution from scarce in-situ SWE measurements from Internet of Things (IoT) devices at actual sensor locations and historical SWE maps. The method consists of finding a background SWE field, followed by an update step using ensemble optimal interpolation to estimate the residuals. This novel approach allowed for areas with parsimonious sensors to have accurate estimates of spatial SWE without explicitly discovering and specifying the spatial-interpolation features. The scheme is evaluated across the Tuolumne River basin on a 50 m grid using an existing LiDAR-based product as the historical dataset. Results show a minimum RMSE of 30% at 50 m resolutions. Compared with the operational SNODAS product, reduction in error is up to 80% with historical LiDAR-measured snow depth as input data.

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