Surface deformation detected by the space-observed small baseline SAR interferometry over permafrost environment in Tibet Plateau, China
F. Chen1,2 and H. Lin21Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 9 Dengzhuang South Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100094, China 2Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China
Received: 08 Aug 2012 – Accepted for review: 10 Sep 2012 – Discussion started: 24 Sep 2012
Abstract. The evolution of permafrost and the active layer is highly related to climate change because of its feedback effects involving water and carbon storage. In this study, we firstly examined the relationship of regional water balance, geomorphological process and anthropogenic activities by means of Small Baseline Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (SB-InSAR) to monitor the surface movements overlaid on the permafrost of Tibet Plateau (TP), China, using 3.5-yr observation span of L-band ALOS PALSAR data (June, 2007 to December, 2010). The estimated displacements (primarily in the range of −30 mm yr−1 to 30 mm yr−1) and time-series implied evolutions of the active layer and permafrost beneath. The motion trend along slopes was complicated, and thus interdisciplinary interpretations were required. Water level variations of inland lakes were then detected, although further investigations were required for validation. Anthropogenic influences on this frail permafrost environment were significant, proved by the remarkable surface settlement along the embankment of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Consequently, it is crucial and necessary to monitor this arid and cold plateau owing to the combination of climate change, geo-hazards prediction as well as the regional sustainable development.
Chen, F. and Lin, H.: Surface deformation detected by the space-observed small baseline SAR interferometry over permafrost environment in Tibet Plateau, China, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4071-4099, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4071-2012, 2012.