Skip to main content

Remote Sensing of Snow Wetness (WetSnow)



The main objective of this action is to make optical and multi-sensor algorithms previously developed for the Copernicus satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3 fully operational. The sub-objectives are:

  1. Full calibration of algorithms using data from 2017 to 2020
  2. Extensive validation of the algorithms in Norway and Romania
  3. Implementation of an operational processing chain made available for governmental organisations

Wet snow avalanches are the most dangerous ones. The snow wetness (snow liquid water content) is a main trigger factor of many avalanches. The satellite-derived snow wetness information can help assess the threshold value of avalanche release, thus contributing to more accurate avalanche monitoring and warnings.

Furthermore, presence of wet snow combined with meteorological data can be used for flood risk warning. Norway and Romania are among several European countries vulnerable to snowmelt-related flooding. Inclusion of satellite observations of snow wetness will make modelling more robust and accurate.

Both Romania and Norway include substantial mountain regions (Carpathian and Scandinavian Mountains, respectively), making the countries vulnerable to impacts from the seasonal snow cover. Land cover and climate are regionally similar, but also different over vast areas. Calibration and validation of the algorithms in both countries would make the algorithms compatible and robust for applications over most of Europe in general.

The finalised snow wetness products will therefore have great potential for users, for example within water and energy management, meteorological institutes, hydropower production, emergency early warning (flood, avalanches and more), climate research, search-and-rescue as well as ski tourism.

Output and Results

  • Successful implementation of snow wetness algorithms in operational processing chains in both countries
  • Successful technical integration of snow wetness products in the operational workflows of relevant public institutions in both countries
  • Demonstrations at international/European events
  • Online training event for both Romanian and Norwegian users
  • Report on validation results
  • Successful user uptake in operational workflows for at least two applications in Norway and in Romania (target applications: flood warning, avalanche warning, hydropower production management, climate-change impacts)