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Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Geosciences


The growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), informally known as drones, opened new opportunities for geoscientists to monitor the Earth at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. Geophysicists use UAVs to observe underground features, geologists and geomorphologists utilize drones to carry out detailed survey of Earth’s surface, hydrologists apply UAVs to observe water bodies and conduct hydrometric measurements, and meteorologists use drones to measure weather characteristics and air quality. The articles presented in this topical issue of Pure and Applied Geophysics focus on the range of applications of UAVs in geosciences, forming a selection of case studies from different geographic regions. Two papers address the issue of investigating subsurface processes, including magnetic survey and post-explosion imprint on physical terrain. Three articles present examples of high-resolution mapping of landforms, ranging from a highly dynamic aeolian environment to stable granite tors. Water-related problems, covering  fluvial geomorphologic and hydrographic studies with the use of UAVs, are solved in other three papers of this topical issue. A number of meteorological variables is investigated in four articles, including UAV-based snow characterization, atmospheric aerosol monitoring and cloudiness. Finally, this book includes two technical reports on both technological and historical aspects of the UAV-assisted research in geosciences. Since this volume of Pure and Applied Geophysics puts an emphasis on case studies on a diverse usage of drones in Earth sciences it may be interesting not only for researchers, but particularly for postgraduate students in geophysics, geology, geography or civil engineering. Practitioners may also find this topical issue useful for implementing the UAV survey as a tool for mitigating the risk of selected geohazards.