ICIMOD Organizes Training on Snow Cover Models Using MODIS Technologies

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Within the framework of the SERVIR-Himalaya initiative, supported by USAID and NASA, ICIMOD organized training on snow cover models using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The training, held 26-28 November, included theoretical and hands-on exercises on MODSCAG (MODIS Snow Covered Area and Grain size), a tool used to provide a more accurate estimation of snow cover in mountainous areas, and MODDRFS (MODIS Dust Radiative Forcing in Snow model), which retrieves information on surface radiative forcing by light-absorbing impurities in snow cover from MODIS surface reflectance data. Used together, grain size estimates and an estimate of impurity concentration can be used to estimate the albedo, or the reflection coefficient, of snow in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas.

The training was conducted by two resource persons from NASA-JPL, Dr Karl Rittger and Paul Ramirez. There were 32 participants from 10 partner institutions in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, including 7 participants from ICIMOD, representing a mix of mid-level professionals, students, and university teachers. During the training, Birendra Bajracharya, Technical Coordinator of SERVIR-Himalaya at ICIMOD, highlighted efforts to link emerging science products to real applications for societal benefit. The training event provided an opportunity to build the capacity to use these tools both at ICIMOD and at partner institutions, one of the main objectives of the SERVIR initiative. The new products and methods introduced during the training will help ICIMOD develop new dimensions in the application of GIS technologies in regional programmes and increase the potential for collaboration.