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Ice loss in the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau permafrost as seen by 16 yr of ESA SAR missions


Daout, Simon; Dini, Benedetta; Haeberli, Wilfried; Doin, Marie-Pierre; Parsons, Barry (2020). Ice loss in the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau permafrost as seen by 16 yr of ESA SAR missions. Earth and planetary science letters, 545:116404.

Abstract

InSAR time series of surface deformation from 16 yr of Envisat (2003-2011) and Sentinel-1 (2014-2019) ESA satellite radar measurements have been constructed to characterise spatial and temporal dynamics of ground deformation over an 80,000 km2 area in the permafrost of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The regional deformation maps encompass various types of periglacial landforms and show that seasonal thaw effects are controlled by the sediment type and local topography. High seasonal ground movements are concentrated on shallow slopes and poor-drainage areas in unconsolidated, frost-susceptible and fine-grained sediments within glacier outwash plains, braided stream plains, alluvial deposits or floodplains. Fast subsidence due to thaw settlement takes place during June/July while frost heave is intense during December/January when two-sided freezing of pore water under pressure causes prolonged ice segregation near the permafrost table. The analysis reveals pervasive subsidence of the ground of up to ∼2 cm/yr, and increasing by a factor of 2 to 5 from 2003 to today, in high-relief and well-drained areas. The findings suggest that seasonal thaw increasingly affects ice-rich layers at the permafrost table, as well as high-rates of widespread mass movements of non-consolidated sediments, the latter amplified by an increase of effects from frost heave/thaw settlement.

Abstract

InSAR time series of surface deformation from 16 yr of Envisat (2003-2011) and Sentinel-1 (2014-2019) ESA satellite radar measurements have been constructed to characterise spatial and temporal dynamics of ground deformation over an 80,000 km2 area in the permafrost of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The regional deformation maps encompass various types of periglacial landforms and show that seasonal thaw effects are controlled by the sediment type and local topography. High seasonal ground movements are concentrated on shallow slopes and poor-drainage areas in unconsolidated, frost-susceptible and fine-grained sediments within glacier outwash plains, braided stream plains, alluvial deposits or floodplains. Fast subsidence due to thaw settlement takes place during June/July while frost heave is intense during December/January when two-sided freezing of pore water under pressure causes prolonged ice segregation near the permafrost table. The analysis reveals pervasive subsidence of the ground of up to ∼2 cm/yr, and increasing by a factor of 2 to 5 from 2003 to today, in high-relief and well-drained areas. The findings suggest that seasonal thaw increasingly affects ice-rich layers at the permafrost table, as well as high-rates of widespread mass movements of non-consolidated sediments, the latter amplified by an increase of effects from frost heave/thaw settlement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Geophysics
Physical Sciences > Geochemistry and Petrology
Physical Sciences > Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
Physical Sciences > Space and Planetary Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous), Space and Planetary Science, Geochemistry and Petrology, Geophysics
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:24 Nov 2020 10:42
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 21:01
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0012-821X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116404

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