SCLP SNOW AND COLD LAND PROCESSES

LAUNCH: 2016–2020

MISSION SIZE: Medium

ORBIT: LEO, SSO

AGENCY: NASA

ESTIMATED COST: $500 million

AREAS OF INTEREST: Water

INSTRUMENTS: Ku- and X-band radars, K- and Ka-band radiometers

BENEFITS:

Improved management of water resources in snowmelt-dominated river basins

Assessment of the risk of snowmelt-induced floods and flows of debris

Predictions of the impact of climate change on seasonal snowpacks

Seasonal snowpacks and glaciers provide water for one-sixth of the world’s population and affect weather and climate on local, regional, and global scales. Climate change seriously threatens the global abundance and timing of snow. Runoff from western U.S. snowfall now peaks several weeks earlier in the spring than it did in the 1950s. Despite the importance of snow to society, there are major gaps in snow-cover observations globally. Scientists and water resource managers need to know where and how much snow has fallen, how much water it holds, and how fast it is melting.

Through a combination of active and passive microwave sensors, SCLP will provide a detailed and frequently updated record of snow cover. A pair of synthetic aperture radars will be able to characterize both deep and shallow snowpacks. A dual-frequency passive radiometer will provide additional detail and allow for comparison with snow data from similar sensors on other platforms. The mission will provide observations on two needed timescales: 15-day observation intervals will capture seasonal change, and more frequent (3- to 6-day) observations will track the effects of individual weather events.


The passive microwave component of SCLP could provide a source of interim data to users affected by the removal of the passive microwave instrument from the first National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) platform.



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earth Science and applicatiOnS frOm Space  SCLP SNOW AND COLD LAND PROCESSES LAUNCH: 2016–2020 MISSION SIZE: medium ORBIT: Leo, sso AGENCY: nasa ESTIMATED COST: $500 million AREAS OF INTEREST: Water INSTRUMENTS: Ku- and x-band radars, K- and Ka-band radiometers BENEFITS: improved management of water resources in snowmelt-dominated river basins assessment of the risk of snowmelt-induced floods and flows of debris Predictions of the impact of climate change on seasonal snowpacks seasonal snowpacks and glaciers provide water for one-sixth of the world’s population and affect weather and climate on local, regional, and global scales. Climate change seriously threatens the global abundance and timing of snow. Runoff from western U.s. snowfall now peaks several weeks earlier in the spring than it did in the 1950s. Despite the importance of snow to society, there are major gaps in snow-cover observations globally. scientists and water resource managers need to know where and how much snow has fallen, how much water it holds, and how fast it is melting. through a combination of active and passive microwave sensors, sCLP will provide a detailed and frequently updated record of snow cover. a pair of synthetic aperture radars will be able to characterize both deep and shallow snowpacks. a dual- frequency passive radiometer will provide additional detail and allow for comparison with snow data from similar sensors on other platforms. the mission will provide observations on two needed timescales: 15-day observation intervals will capture sea- sonal change, and more frequent (3- to 6-day) observations will track the effects of individual weather events. the passive microwave component of sCLP could provide a source of interim data to users affected by the removal of the passive microwave instrument from the first national Polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system (nPoess) platform.