The quantification of the relationship between accumulation of snow and vegetation is crucial for understanding the influence of vegetation dynamics. We here present an analysis of the thickness of the snow and hydrological availability in relation to the seven main vegetation types in the High Arctic in Northeast Greenland. We used ground penetrating radar (GPR) for snow thickness measurements across the Zackenberg valley. Measurements were integrated to the physical conditions that support the vegetation distribution. Descriptive statistics and correlations of the distribution of each vegetation type to snow thickness, as well as to external factors that influence the redistribution of snow were performed. We found that although there is wide variability in the snow packing, there is strong correlation between snow thickness and the distribution of certain plant communities in the area. The accumulation of snow and occurrence of vegetation types such as Dryas octopetala heath and Salix arctica snowbed showed more influence by the microtopography than by other vegetation types that showed independence of the terrain conditions.
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 2013, Vol 45, Issue 2, p. 201-210