A map analysis of patterned-ground along a North American
Martha K. Raynolds,1 Donald A. Walker,1 Corinne A. Munger,1
Corinne M. Vonlanthen,2 and Anja N. Kade1
Received 4 June 2007; revised 7 January 2008; accepted 4 February 2008; published 4 June 2008.
 Arctic patterned-ground features have been described individually, but never
examined as parts of integrated landscape/ecosystems that vary along the Arctic climate
gradient. Here we examine the complex interrelationships between patterned ground,
climate, vegetation and soil along a north-south transect through all five bioclimate
subzones of the North American Arctic. We mapped the vegetation, biomass,
end-of-summer thaw depths, and snow cover on twenty 10 10-m grids. The vegetation
maps illustrate the transition of vegetation types and patterns from north to south.
Biomass maps showed lower biomass in the centers of patterned-ground features than in
areas between features, and increasing biomass from north to south. Thaw-depth maps
showed deeper thaw in the centers of features than between features, and shallow thaw on
the north and south ends of the transect. Snow depth maps showed less snow on
patterned-ground features subject to differential frost heave compared to areas between
features which did not heave, and a north-south gradient of increasing snow depth.
The maps also documented the change from small nonsorted polygons to larger nonsorted
circles from north to south, and increasing pattern size with moisture. Principal
components analysis revealed underlying relationships between patterned-ground
landscapes and measured vegetation and environmental variables. Climate in combination
with the vegetation was the most important factor affecting patterned ground on zonal
sites, but soil moisture, texture and chemistry were also important.
Citation: Raynolds, M. K., D. A. Walker, C. A. Munger, C. M. Vonlanthen, and A. N. Kade (2008), A map analysis of patterned-
ground along a North American Arctic Transect, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G03S