Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 285–295 | Cite as

Permafrost warming along the Mo’he-Jiagedaqi section of the China-Russia crude oil pipeline

  • Fei Wang
  • Guo-yu LiEmail author
  • Wei Ma
  • Yun-cheng Mao
  • Yan-hu Mu
  • Mihaela Serban
  • Yong-jun Cai


The permafrost along the China-Russia Crude Oil Pipeline (CRCOP) is degrading since the pipeline operation in 2011. Heat dissipated from the pipeline, climate warming and anthropogenic activities leads to permafrost warming. The processes of permafrost warming along the CRCOP were studied based on the monitoring of air and soil temperatures, and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys. Results show that: (1) the mean annual air temperature (MAAT) in permafrost regions along the CRCOP increased with a rate of 0.21°C/10a–0.40°C/10a during the past five decades; (2) the mean annual ground temperature (MAGT, at −15 m depth) of undisturbed permafrost increased by 0.2°C and the natural permafrost table remained unchanged due to the zero-curtain effect; (3) permafrost surrounding the uninsulated pipeline right-of-way warmed significantly compared with that in a natural site. During 2012–2017, the MAGT and the artificial permafrost table, 2 m away from the pipeline centerline, increased at rates of 0.063°C/a and 1.0 m/a. The thaw bulb developed around the pipe and exhibits a faster lateral expansion; (4) 80- mm-thick insulation could reduce the heat exchange between the pipeline and underlying permafrost and then keep the permafrost and pipe stable. The MAGT and the artificial permafrost table, 4.8 m away from the center line of the pipeline, increased by 0.3°C/a and 0.43 m/a, respectively. Due to the heat disturbance caused by warm oil, the degradation of wetland, controlled burn each autumn and climate warming, the permafrost extent reduced and warmed significantly along the CRCOP route. Field observations provide basic data to clarify the interactions between CRCOP and permafrost degradation and environmental effects in the context of climate change.


Permafrost warming China-Russia Crude Oil Pipeline Air temperature Soil temperature Climate warming 


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We would like to thank Zhou Gangyi and Che Fuqiang for conducting field measurements over the years. The research reported in this manuscript is funded by the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFC0802103), the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA2003020102), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants Nos. U1703244, 41672310, 41630636 and 41702333), the Research Project of the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soils Engineering (Grant No. SKLFSE-ZY-16), the Major Program of Bureau of International Cooperation of CAS (131B62KYSB20170012), the STS research project of CAS (HHS-TSS-STS-1502).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.National Engineering Laboratory of Transportation Safety of Oil & Gas PipelinePetroChina Pipeline R & D CenterLangfangChina

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