Contemporary Remote Sensing Tools for Integrated Assessment and Conservation Planning of Ice-free Antarctica

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Larissa Patricio-Valerio , Justine Shaw, Felipe Gonzalez, Sharon Robinson, Kate J Helmstedt


Monitoring and understanding Antarctica is critical for conservation of its values. Remote sensing has been increasingly employed to observe large areas at higher frequency than traditional monitoring methods, enabling systematic assessments at low cost. However, currently there are limitations in the ability of the available remote sensing tools to answer the most pressing scientific, ecological, and biological questions associated with anthropogenic impacts, including climate change, in Antarctica. Here we summarise the latest findings on remote sensing tools and techniques, identifying the gaps and highlighting priority areas for future development. Major ongoing challenges concern the intensive cloud coverage and ephemeral snow cover that prevent ongoing observations of ice-free areas and the fine spatial scales required to undertake assessments of terrestrial ecosystems, their biota, and the human footprint. Opportunities arise in the realms of advanced statistical techniques to harness the potential of increasingly available data from orbital satellites and Unmanned Aerial Systems also commonly known as drones, at multiple scales and resolutions. We conclude that harnessing emerging technological advances in remote sensing will enable new understanding and ultimately protection of Antarctic ecosystems.



Environmental Monitoring, Natural Resources and Conservation, Remote Sensing


Antarctica, Ice-free areas, remote sensing, drones, conservation, Polar Ecosystems, Human footprint, Water tracks, soil moisture, Vegetation


Published: 2022-06-17 06:05

Last Updated: 2022-06-17 10:05


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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