Snow accumulation, re-distribution and melt are important hydrological considerations in the Arctic. This study presents a model of the late-winter snow cover and the ensuing snowmelt in a High Arctic environment at a scale of 1 km. Indexing is used to spread the snow data from a lowland weather station to various terrain units over a 16×13 km2 target area east of Resolute, Cornwallis Island, Canada. Meteorological variables measured at this base station are spatially extended by field derived empirical relationships for the computation of melt at various terrain units using the energy balance approach. These melt rates are weighted by the fractional coverage of various terrain unit within each 1×1 km2 cell. The snow distribution pattern is obtained daily and model performance was tested by comparing observed and computed dates of melt and the radiation balance over snow. The simulated snow pattern compared favourably with the snow cover imaged by LANDSAT. Daily changes in the probability distribution of snow water equivalent over the target area was examined and snow depletion curves were derived. They describe sub-grid variability over an area and our results point to several assumptions that should be scrutinized in sub-grid parameterization of snow distribution.

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