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Seasonal snow cover is an important storage and source of melt water for human use,39 irrigation and hydropower production in many regions of the world. On the other hand, snow40 cover and snow melt water can also be a cause of disastrous natural hazards, such as floods41 and avalanches.

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Snow cover provides a playground for many winter sport activities, but can be a challenge for construction safety and for traffic flow at airports and on roads and railways. Snow cover is also a key factor in the weather and climate system, both regionally and globally (Armstrong and Brun, 2008). Owing to the society's strong need for updated information on snow conditions, national snow map services have been set up in many countries.

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