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Impact of permafrost change on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering


Permafrost along the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad produces the great change under the influence of climate change, such as the decreasing of permafrost table, the rising of permafrost temperatures, etc. Climate effect on permafrost is the long-term process. Engineering action makes rapidly permafrost the large extent change. On the basis of analyzing the permafrost change under the climate change and engineering action, the thermal regime and spatial distribution of permafrost are predicted for air temperature rising 1°C and 2 °C after 50 years in this paper. The results show that climate change results in the larger change for the thermal regime and spatial distribution of permafrost. Permafrost change will produce the great effect on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering, not only resulting in the decreasing of permafrost table beneath the roadbed, but also resulting in thawing settlement due to the thawing of ground ice near permafrost table. The idea of cooling roadbed and active protecting permafrost for the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering could adjust and control the permafrost thermal state, some better methods are provided to ensure the engineering stability in the areas of warm permafrost and high ice content.

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Correspondence to Qingbai Wu.

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Wu, Q., Cheng, G. & Ma, W. Impact of permafrost change on the Qinghai-Tibet Railroad engineering. Sci. China Ser. D-Earth Sci. 47 (Suppl 1), 122–130 (2004).

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  • permafrost
  • climate change
  • Qinghai-Tibet Railroad
  • roadbed stability