Downscaling Sentinel-3 Snow Cover Data for Meteorological and Hydrological Applications

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

The project "Downscaling Sentinel-3 Snow Cover Data for Meteorological and Hydrological Applications (DS-Snow)" is aimed at the development, implementation and demonstration of methods and tools for establishing snow-related services based on close time series of high resolution satellite snow products, downscaled from medium resolution optical sensors.

Currently the main Copernicus snow covered area (SCA) products are based on multi-spectral optical data of the Sentinel-3 mission providing binary or fractional SCA at medium-scale spatial resolution, with the potential of daily repeat observations.

Contents and goals

Multispectral optical data of Sentinel-2 enable the generation of SCA maps at high spatial resolution (20 m pixel spacing), however with longer repeat observation intervals. The reduced temporal coverage of Sentinel-2 impairs the use of the snow maps for important operational applications, in particular over complex terrain.

The project DS-Snow addresses this deficit, developing methods and tools for downscaling Sentinel-3 data in order to obtain close time series of high resolution snow products. The downscaling procedure will be supported by auxiliary data on physiographic and land over parameters.

Furthermore, it is planned to develop and test tools for integrating the downscaled snow cover products into high resolution snow process models and hydrological models, in order to prepare for the general use of the product for distributed snowpack modelling and forecasting.


To evaluate and demonstrate the added value of the downscaled snow product, test runs on distributed snow process modelling and forecasting will be performed for selected Alpine basins.

Due to the operational nature and global acquisition strategy of the Sentinel-2 mission the downscaled snow products can be generated worldwide, which enlarges significantly the potential for exploiting the project results.

Besides applications for snow pack modelling and forecasting in the context of meteorological and hydrological applications, to be demonstrated in the project, the downscaled Sentinel-3 snow product will also be relevant for natural hazard management in regions where seasonal snow has an impact on civil life and infrastructure, providing information in support of snow melt flood forecasting, avalanche warning, transportation and road management, geotechnical and structural engineering, and tourism.

Expected results

Potential key users include meteorological and hydrological services, hydropower companies, geotechnical engineering companies operating in the fields of hydrology and natural hazards, and civil protection agencies. The project developments will also be of relevance for upgrading of the snow component in the GlobLand Copernicus Land Monitoring service.

Project Partners


ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation Information Technology GmbH

Project partner

  • Pöyry Austria GmbH / Hydro-Consulting
  • Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) / Climate

Contact Address

ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation Information Technology GmbH
Dr. Thomas Nagler
Fürstenweg 176
A-6020 Innsbruck