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Distribution of Permafrost in China: An Overview of Existing Permafrost Maps

Authors

  • Youhua Ran,

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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  • Xin Li,

    Corresponding author
    • Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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  • Guodong Cheng,

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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  • Tingjun Zhang,

    1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of West China's Environmental System, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
    2. National Snow and Ice Data Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
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  • Qingbai Wu,

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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  • Huijun Jin,

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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  • Rui Jin

    1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China
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X. Li, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 West Donggang Road, Lanzhou, 730000, Gansu Province, China. E-mail: lixin@lzb.ac.cn

ABSTRACT

Many permafrost maps in China have been compiled since the early 1960s. The scales of these maps range from the local (1:600 000) to the regional scale (1:10 000 000). The permafrost classification systems differ among these maps. The indices for permafrost classification used in these mapping projects include spatial continuity (areal extent) and thickness of the permafrost, air and ground temperatures and ground -ice content. All of those data have been retrieved, digitised and published in the Environmental and Ecological Science Data Center for West China. These maps represent the best understanding at the time regarding the distribution of permafrost in China and its changes over the past century. An updated map of permafrost in China, including frozen ground area, is also provided. The total area of permafrost in China is estimated at ~ 1.59 × 106 km2 (glaciers and lakes excluded), and the area of seasonally frozen ground (excluding instantaneous frozen ground) is ~ 5.36 × 106 km2. The total area of high-altitude (plateau and mountain) permafrost in China is ~ 1.35 × 106 km2, the area of mountain permafrost is ~ 0.30 × 106 km2 and the area of plateau permafrost is ~ 1.05 × 106 km2. The latitudinal permafrost is located in the northern part of northeastern China, and its area is ~ 0.24 × 106 km2. Additionally, some suggestions are proposed for future mapping of permafrost in China. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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