Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Jacobs


Winter snowpack is a significant contributor to water supply in many regions of the world and accurate estimates of the snow water equivalent (SWE) are necessary for water resource planning. Satellite data is an attractive source of snow information in remote regions with limited ground data. The objective of this study is to assess passive microwave SWE in the Upper Helmand Watershed in Afghanistan where snowmelt is a primary source of water. Passive microwave SWE data were compared over 6 winter seasons, 2004-2009, to an independent estimate of SWE using a snow hydrology model. The snow hydrology model was calibrated to high-resolution snow covered area images and observed reservoir levels. The model was initialized with passive microwave SWE data and found to improve results in years when input precipitation was low. The results showed that passive microwave SWE has potential to provide valuable water resource information in this data-scarce region.