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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-114
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-114
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Jun 2020

02 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Insights in a remote cryosphere: A multi method approach to assess permafrost occurrence at the Qugaqie basin, western Nyainqêntanglha Range, Tibetan Plateau

Johannes Buckel1, Eike Reinosch2, Andreas Hördt1, Fan Zhang3, Björn Riedel2, Markus Gerke2, Antje Schwalb4, and Roland Mäusbacher5 Johannes Buckel et al.
  • 1Institute for Geophysics and extraterrestrical Physics, Technische Universiät Braunschweig, Braunschweig, 38106, Germany
  • 2Institute for Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Technische Universiät Braunschweig, Braunschweig, 38106, Germany
  • 3Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
  • 4Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication, Technische Universiät Braunschweig, Braunschweig, 38106, Germany
  • 5Geographical Institute, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Jena, 07743, Germany

Abstract. Permafrost as a climate-sensitive parameter, its occurrence and distribution plays an important role in the observation of global warming. However, field-based permafrost distribution data and information on the subsurface ice content at the large area of the southern mountainous Tibetan Plateau (TP) is very sparse. Existing models based on boreholes and remote sensing approaches suggest permafrost probabilities for most of the Tibetan mountain ranges. Field data to validate permafrost models are generally lacking because access of the mountain regions in extreme altitudes is limited. The study provides geomorphological and geophysical field data from a north-orientated high-altitude catchment in the western Nyainqêntanglha Range. Our multi-method-approach combines (A) geomorphological mapping data, (B) subsurface ice-occurrence derived from electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data, and (C) multi-annual displacement rates from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) analysis to assess the lower occurrence of the probable permafrost around 5400 m a.s.l. in the Qugaqie basin. Periglacial landforms such as rockglaciers and protalus ramparts are located in the periglacial zone from 5300–5600 a.s.l. The altitudinal periglacial landform distribution is supported by ERT data detecting ice-rich permafrost in a rockglacier at 5500 m a.s.l. and ice lenses around the rockglacier (5450 m a.s.l.). The highest, multiannual displacement rates up to 150 mm/y are observed typically on these rockglaciers. However, seasonality of rockglacier surface displacement like in other high mountain areas is missing. This study closes the gap of unknown state of periglacial features and potential permafrost occurrence in a high-elevated basin at the western Nyainqêntanglha Range (Tibetan Plateau) and suppose – compared to other high mountain regions – a higher-elevated permafrost occurrence.

Johannes Buckel et al.

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Johannes Buckel et al.

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Short summary
This study presents insights in the remote cryosphere of a mounatin range at the Tibetan plateau. Smalled scaled studies and field data about permafrost occurrence are very sparce. A multi-method approach (geomorphological mapping, geophysics, InSar time series analysis) assesses to assess the lower occurrence of the probable permafrost around 5400 m a.s.l. in the Qugaqie basin.
This study presents insights in the remote cryosphere of a mounatin range at the Tibetan...
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