Displacement monitoring and modeling of Qinghai–Tibet Railway in permafrost area using Sentinel-1A data

  • Yian Wang
  • Qihuan HuangEmail author
  • Jian Guo
  • Jianfeng Jiang
  • Qingqing Wang
  • Angelique Nishyirimbere
Original Paper


Seasonal freezing and thawing of permafrost can cause great damage to the environment and the geological structure, resulting in instability of engineering structures. Therefore, it is very necessary to continuously monitor the deformation of Qinghai–Tibet Railway (QTR) in the seasonal permafrost region. In this study, 38 Sentinel-1A SAR images, spanning from October 20, 2014 to March 26, 2017, were explored for displacement monitoring of QTR in permafrost area. Displacement time series (about 2.5 years) of QTR from Dangxiong to Yangbajin (QTR_DY) section were achieved. Seasonal characteristic of the displacement, negatively correlated to temperature (R = − 0.833) and precipitation (R = − 0.727), is shown. Possible uneven settlement in two sections along QTR_DY is detected. A multivariate displacement model, considering both temperature and precipitation, which is proposed, can be used for railway displacement prediction.


Permafrost Displacement monitoring Qinghai–Tibet Railway Sentinel-1 



We thank the Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC) for sharing the SAR interferometric processing tools. The Sentinel-1 datasets were downloaded from the Sentinel Scientific Data Hub.

Author contributions

QH and YW conceived and designed the study; SAR data was processed by QH; YW analyzed the data; YW wrote the paper; JJ, AN, and QW reviewed and edited the manuscript.

Funding information

The work received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of china (grant no. 41304025), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2018B8814; 2018B699X14), and the Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX18_0619).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yian Wang
    • 1
  • Qihuan Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jian Guo
    • 1
  • Jianfeng Jiang
    • 1
  • Qingqing Wang
    • 1
  • Angelique Nishyirimbere
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth Science and EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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