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Global Snow-Water-Equivalent Depth Coefficient-of-Variation Classification


This data set provides a global distribution of nine subgrid snow-depth-variability categories and a coefficient of variation applicable to each category, as the result of the Subgrid SNOW Distribution (SSNOWD) submodel that defines subgrid snow-depth and snow-cover variability. This data set provides the distribution of those nine categories and their coefficient-of-variation values on a global, 2.5 arc-min latitude-longitude (approximately 5-km) grid. The time period covered is 1 January 1994 through 1 January 2004. The SSNOWD submodel was formulated to improve the depiction of autumn through spring land-atmosphere interactions and feedbacks within global weather, climate, and hydrologic models. From both atmospheric and hydrologic perspectives, the subgrid snow-depth distribution is an important quantity to account for within large-scale models. In the natural system, these subgrid snow-depth distributions are largely responsible for the mosaic of snow-covered and snow-free areas that develop as the snow melts, and the impacts of these fractional areas must be quantified in order to realistically simulate grid-averaged surface fluxes. SSNOWD's formulation incorporates observational studies showing that snow distributions can be described by a lognormal distribution and the snow-depth coefficient-of-variation (CV). Using an understanding of the physical processes that lead to these observed snow-depth variations, a global distribution of nine subgrid snow-depth-variability categories was developed, and coefficient-of-variation values were assigned to each category based on published measurements. Data are in binary format.

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Additional information

  • 1.0 (2009-04-10)
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Related projects
Spatial Type grid
Language English
Grant Code 9415386, 0229973, 9732077
ISO Topic Categories
  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
GCMD Science Keywords Expand keywords
Related links

Temporal coverage

Begin datetime 1994-01-01 00:00:00
End datetime 2004-01-01 23:59:59

Spatial coverage

Map data from IBCSO, IBCAO, and Global Topography.

Maximum (North) Latitude: 90.00, Minimum (South) Latitude: -90.00
Minimum (West) Longitude: -180.00, Maximum (East) Longitude: 180.00

Primary point of contact information

Glen E. Liston <>

Additional contact information


Example citation following ESIP guidelines:

Liston, G. 2009. Global Snow-Water-Equivalent Depth Coefficient-of-Variation Classification. Version 1.0. UCAR/NCAR - Earth Observing Laboratory. Accessed 02 Dec 2020.

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