Implementing robust outlier detection to enhance estimation accuracy of GNSS-IR based seasonal snow depth retrievals

Altuntaş C., Erdoğan B., Tunalıoğlu N.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, vol.45, no.11, pp.3648-3663, 2024 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01431161.2024.2349265
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, Geobase, INSPEC, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database, DIALNET, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.3648-3663
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Monitoring snow depth variations aligned with the seasonal cycle is crucial for studies on climate change and its impacts due to global warming. Especially in terms of snow hydrology, the determination and continuous monitoring of snow depth to determine snow water equivalent is a priority in climate, water science, drought, flood, and inundation prediction studies, particularly in the water cycle. Recently, the so-called Global Navigation Satellite Systems – Interferometric Reflectometry (GNSS-IR) method enables to extract environmental radiometric and geometric characteristics of surface where the signals transmitted from the satellites reflect. The reflected signal follows an extra path than the direct one and causes a major error source for accurate point positioning but a useful tool for sensing the environment. However, outliers remain a challenge in long-term GNSS-IR estimations. In this study, we proposed a median-based robust outlier detection (ROD) approach for identifying outliers in long-term GNSS-IR snow depth estimations. To validate our approach, we analysed 5-year GNSS L1 SNR and L2 SNR data from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2019 provided by AB33 and AB39 GNSS stations in Alaska, U.S.A. using the GNSS-IR method. We validated GNSS-IR estimations using snow depth measurements from the Coldfoot and Fort Yukon stations in the SNOTEL network. Applying ROD to long-term snow depth estimates increased the highest correlation from 91.58% to 94.93%, and reduced the lowest RMSE from 8.6 cm to 6.7 cm. In addition, the improvement rates calculated to assess the contribution of ROD to the results showed improvements of up to 6.9% in correlation and 26.1% in RMSE. Overall, the results demonstrate that ROD can be effectively used to detect outliers in long-term GNSS-IR snow depth time series.