Snow distribution patterns on Svalbard glaciers derived from radio-echo soundings
The spatial distribution of snow thickness on glaciers is driven by a set of climatological, meteorological, topographical and orographic conditions. This work presents results of snow accumulation studies carried out from 2006 to 2009 on glaciers of different types: valley glacier, ice plateau and ice cap. In order to determine snow depth, a shallow radio echo-sounding method was used. Based on the results, the following snow distribution patterns on Svalbard glaciers have been distinguished: precipitation pattern, precipitation-redistribution pattern, redistribution pattern and complex pattern. The precipitation pattern assumes that the snow distribution on glaciers follows the altitudinal gradient. If the accumulation gradient is significantly modified by local factors like wind erosion and redeposition, or local variability of precipitation, the accumulation pattern turns into the precipitation-redistribution pattern. In the redistribution pattern, local factors play a crucial role in the spatial variability of snow depth. The complex pattern, however, demonstrates the co-existence of different snow distribution patterns on a single glacial object (glacier/icecap/ice field).