The Residual Snow Cover in the Canadian Arctic in July: A Means to Evaluate the Regional Maximum Snow Depth in Winter


  • Bernard Lauriol
  • Yvan Carrier
  • Hector Beaudet
  • Gilles Binda



Climatology, Mathematical models, Snow cover, Glaciation, Nunavut, Ungava, Péninsule d', Québec


This paper examines the residual snow cover in the Canadian Arctic during the month of July in the period 1948-83 inclusive using air photographs. The study area includes the Ungava Peninsula, part of the District of Keewatin and the Arctic Archipelago, except for the mountainous regions to the west of the Labrador Sea, and Baffin Bay, where numerous snow fields and glaciers are present. In spite of the spatial discontinuity of the air photographs taken during the second half of July, the authors were able to study 555,519 sq km or 46%, of the forementioned territory. Within this territory, 1899 sq km are covered by residual snow during summer, or an average of 3336 sq m/sq km. A correlation of r=0.93 was observed between the residual snow cover in the different regions during the second half of July and the maximum snow cover thickness during winter measured by Environment Canada. A model permitting the estimation of the maximum snow cover thickness in regions where meteorological stations do not exist was formulated. The model is applicable at small and medium scales. In addition, the authors propose that the Hudson Strait region is the most susceptible to the formation of glaciers if one hypothesizes that the regions with the thickest residual snow cover are the most susceptible to glaciation.

Key words: snow patches, Canadian arctic climate, snowfalls, snow depth, glaciation