CONCLUSION AND FUTURE PROSPECTS


We have seen how remote sensing is used to monitor the cryosphere. There are examples where remote sensing has been used to monitor the variability of seasonal snow cover for the dual purpose of assisting the commercial ski resorts as well as the city water planners (Duguay and Hurtubise, 1992). Remote sensing has also been used to monitor the periodic rapid movements of glaciers, known as glacier surge, to assist global change researchers and the merchant marine (Molnia, 1993). Recently, it has been reported that remote sensing studies have advanced the cryologist's understanding of ice drift, polynya evolution, effects of storms, stresses of winds and wind direction, and standard sea ice mechanics (Kozo et al., 1992).

The above merely highlights the following statement by Barrie Maxwell (Maxwell, 1987) in pointing out the large role that the Arctic region (just one part of the cryosphere) plays in comprehending and predicting global climate change (just one aspect of global environmental change):

"In the Arctic, feedback between radiation and highly reflective ice and snow surfaces, as well as the presence of a strong, surface-based temperature inversion, cause energy to be trapped near the surface. As a result, Arctic warming would not only be higher than at lower latitudes, but also seasonally dependent."

So if anyone is looking for global warming, the warming of the Arctic should be more apparent than at temperate latitudes and evident with the help of remote sensors, particularly in light of the fact that the region itself is "remote" and inhospitable.

Thus, it can be said that we are truly "entering the Age of the Arctic, an era in which Mercator projection maps must give way to polar perspectives" (Osherenko and Young, 1989) not only in our schools but even in our legislative chambers where funding of research for science and the globe, are handled with a sublime innocence.