Integrated Land Surface Water State Indicators for Climate Assessment

Friday, 19 December 2014
Brian Thomas Lamb1, Kyle C McDonald2, Nicholas Steiner3, Marzieh Azarderakhsh4 and Ronny Schroeder1, (1)CUNY City College, New York, NY, United States, (2)CCNY-Earth & Atmos Sciences, New York, NY, United States, (3)CUNY City College, Earth and Atmospheric Science, New York, NY, United States, (4)CCNY, New York, NY, United States
Accurate characterization of seasonal freeze/thaw transition timing coupled with accompanying characterization of snowpack water content, surface inundation, and radiation balance give the potential for an unambiguous indication of climate change. Earth remote sensing data sources have demonstrated utility for determining these surface and radiation balance state variables. NASA’s Climate Indicators Team seeks to develop and test potential climate indicators that employ NASA capabilities to support the National Climate Assessemnt and are useful to decision makers. We present development of a set of climate indicators built upon remote sensing measures of surface water state variables: Landscape freeze/thaw (FT), Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), Surface inundation fraction (Fw), and radiative flux. Indicators based on and derived from these parameters may be assembled from integrated remote sensing datasets and provide key information in assessment of climate state. Combined, these state variables provide unique insight into linkages and feedbacks in terrestrial energy, water and carbon cycles and allow examination to the response of the integrated system to climate drivers. Assembled from existing remote sensing datasets, these deliverables will represent the first broad-scale observationally-based, comprehensive measures of surface water state and distribution coupled to atmospheric radiation for use in climate change assessment.