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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations

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 - Oct 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial interrelationships between terrain, snow distribution and vegetation patterns at an arctic foothills site in Alaska'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this