File photo shows the Hoh Xil in northwest China's Qinghai Province. (Xinhua/Wu Gang)
BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have conducted high-precision mapping of permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, providing a reference for engineering planning and ecosystem management in the area.
Permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is sensitive to global climate change. However, there is a lack of long-term data for permafrost mapping as the harsh environment makes ground observation difficult.
Researchers from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources under the Chinese Academy of Sciences produced an updated permafrost stability distribution map for the area by integrating ground observation data and remote sensing data.
This map shows that the total area of permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is about 1.15 million square km. It also shows the distribution of multiple permafrost types with different stabilities.
The map offers a reference for engineering planning and design as well as ecosystem management. It also provides a baseline for evaluating permafrost change in the future.
The study was published in the journal Science China Earth Sciences.