Spatial interrelationships between terrain, snow distribution and vegetation patterns at an arctic foothills site in Alaska

Barry Michael Evans, Donald A. Walker, Carl S. Benson, Earl A. Nordstrand, Gary W. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A multidisciplinary approach combining field surveys, aerial photographic techniques, digital terrain modelling, and GIS technology was used to analyze spatial interrelationships at a study site in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, The sensitivity of snow drifting to topography at the site is pronounced. The drift patterns indicate winter winds are predominantly from the south with a major secondary component from the southwest. These southwest winds are likely in conjunction with storm events. The deepest snow beds are found on the steeper, north‐facing slopes. Snow also has an effect on vegetation that is evident at the scale of mapping (1:6000). Communities dominated by Cassiope tetragona are associated with deeper snow regimes, and may be useful indicators of deeper snow regimes even at much smaller scales because of their unique spectral signatures. The analyses conducted to date demonstrate the power of the GIS for analyzing terrain‐geobotanical interrelationships, which will increase as we add new layers for other variables, and are able to correlate these with satellite data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-278
Number of pages9
JournalEcography
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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snow
Arctic region
vegetation
GIS
Tetragona
field survey
remote sensing
topography
satellite data
distribution
winter
modeling
methodology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Evans, Barry Michael ; Walker, Donald A. ; Benson, Carl S. ; Nordstrand, Earl A. ; Petersen, Gary W. / Spatial interrelationships between terrain, snow distribution and vegetation patterns at an arctic foothills site in Alaska. In: Ecography. 1989 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 270-278.
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Spatial interrelationships between terrain, snow distribution and vegetation patterns at an arctic foothills site in Alaska. / Evans, Barry Michael; Walker, Donald A.; Benson, Carl S.; Nordstrand, Earl A.; Petersen, Gary W.

In: Ecography, Vol. 12, No. 3, 01.01.1989, p. 270-278.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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