USGS EROS Archive - Landsat - Landsat Level-3 Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA) Science Product

Science Center Objects

Landsat Level- 3 Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA) data contains an acquisition-based per-pixel snow cover fraction, an acquisition-based revised cloud mask for quality assessment, and a product metadata file.

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Landsat Level-2 SR and Level-3 fractional Snow Covered Area Side by Side

Side-by-side images over Crater Mountain, Lassen National Forest, CA of Landsat Surface
Reflectance (SR) Analysis Ready Data (ARD) tile (Left Image) and Landsat Level-3 fractional Snow
Covered Area (fSCA) Science Product tile-based image (Right Image) derived from Landsat 8 
ARD Tile Horizontal 003, Vertical 07, April 27, 2017
(Public domain)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers Landsat Level- 3 Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA) data for Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM).  Landsat fSCA contains an acquisition-based per-pixel snow cover fraction, an acquisition-based revised cloud mask for quality assessment, and a product metadata file.

Landsat fSCA science products are generated from U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Surface Reflectance (SR) data, processed to 30-meter spatial resolution in Albers Equal Area (AEA) projection using the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) datum, and gridded to a common tiling scheme. These data are processed to the highest scientific standards and can be used directly in monitoring and assessing landscape change.

The following date ranges apply to the availability of the Landsat fSCA science product:

  • Landsat 8 OLI: April 2013 to present
  • Landsat 7 ETM+: July 1999 to present
  • Landsat 5 TM: March 1984 to May 2012

fSCA products are available for 144 ARD tile locations over the western conterminous United States (CONUS)and 115 ARD tile locations over Alaska (Figs 1 and 2). 

fSCA products available for 144 CONUS and 115 AK ARD Tiles

(Public domain)

Most Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 scenes can be processed to generate the fSCA product. In addition to the caveats listed on the Landsat ARD and Surface Reflectance web pages, please note the following:

  • The scale factor in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) file for the SNOW band is incorrectly defined. The scale factor should be 0.001 instead of the current 0.0001. The valid range for these fractions when unscaled should be between 0.0 and 1.0.
  • The fSCA algorithm tends to classify water boundaries as snow in some regions.
  • The fSCA algorithm uses the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2011 canopy cover and land cover products for canopy adjustment to address canopy covered areas of snow. If the NLCD canopy cover or land cover products are not accurate for an area due to fire, logging, urbanization, etc., the canopy-adjusted results may have issues with accuracy.

Additional Information

Access Data

Use EarthExplorer to search and download the Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA) Product. The data are located under the Landsat category, Landsat Collection 1 Level-3 subcategory, and listed as Fractional Snow Covered Area (fSCA).