Polar and Cryospheric Remote Sensing Using sUAS

Clare Gaffey* (Corresponding Author), Anshuman Bhardwaj, Karen Frey, Lyndon Estes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Monitoring efforts for remote high-latitude and high-altitude glacierized regions heavily rely on remote sensing. Rapid ongoing changes in polar and cryospheric environments owing to contemporary climate change have attracted more attention towards these regions than ever before. Satellite remote sensing has its own limitations related to low sun angles in high latitudes, high acquisition costs for high-resolution images, and persistent cloud cover over ice-dominated land and ocean surfaces. As such, over the past several years, small unoccupied aerial systems (sUAS) have become a viable data collection tool to address the challenges related to spaceborne or expensive airborne remote sensing for monitoring the cryosphere and polar regions. This chapter discusses sUAS adaptations for collecting data on snow, glaciers, permafrost, polar biology, the ocean, and atmosphere; the challenges of conducting sUAS operations in polar latitudes; and the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. It also provides resources that can be used to guide future efforts in applying sUAS to polar and cryospheric research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationsUAS Applications in Geography
EditorsKory Konsoer, Michael Leitner, Quinn Lewis
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-01976-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-01975-3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameGeotechnologies and the Environment
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN (Print)2365-0575
ISSN (Electronic)2365-0583


  • sUAS
  • UAV
  • Polar
  • Glaciology
  • Cryosphere
  • Remote sensing


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