The third symposium on Remote Sensing of Snow and Ice, organized by the International Glaciological Society, took place in Boulder, Colorado, 17–22 May 1992. As part of this meeting a total of 21 papers was presented on snow and ice applications of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data in polar regions. Also during this meeting a NASA sponsored Workshop was held to review the status of polar surface measurements from AVHRR. In the following we have summarized the ideas and recommendations from the workshop, and the conclusions of relevant papers given during the regular symposium sessions. The seven topics discussed include cloud masking, ice surface temperature, narrow-band albedo, ice concentration, lead statistics, sea-ice motion and ice-sheet studies with specifics on applications, algorithms and accuracy, following recommendations for future improvements. In general, we can affirm the strong potential of AVHRR for studying sea ice and snow covered surfaces, and we highly recommend this satellite data set for long-term monitoring of polar process studies. However, progress is needed to reduce the uncertainty of the retrieved parameters for all of the above mentioned topics to make this data set useful for direct climate applications such as heat balance studies and others. Further, the acquisition and processing of polar AVHRR data must become better coordinated between receiving stations, data centers and funding agencies to guarantee a long-term commitment to the collection and distribution of high quality data.