Articles | Volume 6, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 6, 607–612, 2012

Special issue: Modeling the spatial dynamics of permafrost and seasonally...

The Cryosphere, 6, 607–612, 2012

Research article 31 May 2012

Research article | 31 May 2012

Thermal state of the active layer and permafrost along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Railway from 2006 to 2010

Q. Wu1, T. Zhang2,3, and Y. Liu1 Q. Wu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 2MOE Key Laboratory of West China's Environment System, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 3National Snow and Ice Data Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. In this study, we investigated changes in active layer thickness (ALT) and permafrost temperatures at different depths using data from the permafrost monitoring network along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Railway (QXR) since 2005. Among these sites, mean ALT is ~3.1 m, with a range of ~1.1 to 5.9 m. From 2006 through 2010, ALT has increased at a rate of ~6.3 cm a−1. The mean rate of permafrost temperature rise at the depth of 6.0 m is ~0.02 °C a−1, estimated by linear regression using 5 yr of data, and the mean rate of mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) rise at a depth of zero amplitude is ~0.012 °C a−1. Changes for colder permafrost (MAGT <−1.0 °C) are greater than changes for relatively warmer permafrost (MAGT >−1.0 °C). This is consistent with results observed in the Arctic and subarctic.