EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring the impact of rain-on-snow events across the Arctic with satellite data

Annett Bartsch1, Helena Bergstedt1, Xaver Muri1, Kimmo Rautiainen2, Leena Leppänen2,3, Kyle Joly4, Aleksandr Sokolov5, Pavel Orekhov5, Dorothee Ehrich6, and Eeva Marietta Soininen6
Annett Bartsch et al.
  • 1b.geos, Research and Development, Korneuburg, Austria (
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute
  • 3Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
  • 4National Park Service, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Program
  • 5Arctic research station, Institute of plant and animal ecology, Ural branch
  • 6UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

Rain-on-Snow (ROS) events change snow pack properties and in extreme cases ice layers form which affect wildlife, vegetation and soils beyond the duration of the event. Active as well as passive microwave sensors have been used in the past to document ROS on regional scale. Either wet snow during a ROS event or the formation of crust afterwards are identified in most cases. The fusion of both approaches is promising for circumpolar monitoring.

C-band radar is of special interest due to good data availability including a range of nominal spatial resolution (10 m–12.5 km). Previous studies indicated that radar backscatter is suitable to identify snow structure change. As an example L-band passive microwave observations from SMOS and C-band backscatter from Metop ASCAT have been jointly analysed and compared to snowpit observations in Scandinavia and Northwestern Siberia.

A circumpolar dataset of potential ROS has been created. The gridded information has been eventually aggregated for events. Larger mid-winter events have been eventually extracted for 2012-2021. They occur mostly in the NE part of northern Eurasia (mostly November) and across Alaska (mostly December). The spatiotemporal patters of these events and the magnitude of snow structure change will be presented and discussed.

How to cite: Bartsch, A., Bergstedt, H., Muri, X., Rautiainen, K., Leppänen, L., Joly, K., Sokolov, A., Orekhov, P., Ehrich, D., and Soininen, E. M.: Monitoring the impact of rain-on-snow events across the Arctic with satellite data, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8142,, 2023.