- A Charles Sturt researcher has contributed to collaborative published research into the challenging issue of the estimation of ground ice in permafrost studies
- The researchers developed a first-of-its-kind model and used the Northeast China permafrost area as a case study
- Even though the research is not applicable in Australia, a global perspective of this topic reinforces the urgency for action on climate change
A Charles Sturt University engineering academic has contributed to an international research collaboration to create a model to quantify the distribution and reserves of permafrost.
Contributing researcher Dr Miao Li (pictured, inset), a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering in the Charles Sturt School of Computing, Mathematics and Engineering, said the results of the research have global implications and lay foundations for studies in climate disaster, hydrological cycle, succession of ecological environment, cold region engineering stability and so on.
“Ground ice, which is estimated to account for two per cent of the ice volume on Earth, is solid water that exists in, and is an important feature of, permafrost,” Dr Li said.
“The spatial distribution and reserve estimation of ground ice has been a challenging issue in permafrost studies.
“This is why we developed a first-of-its-kind model and used mega-data to measure ground ice spatial distribution and reserves.”
The research paper Dr Li co-authored, ‘A calculation model for the spatial distribution and reserves of ground ice - A case study of the Northeast China permafrost area’, was recently published in the journal Engineering Geology.
Dr Li said the relevance of ground ice is that the formation, existence, and thawing of ground ice is accompanied by the changes in quantity and property of the strata, and thus affects topography, water‑carbon cycle, soil, and engineering stability.
“This research used China as a case study and provides a framework to enable permafrost researchers to map the spatial distribution and estimate the reserve of ground ice,” she said.
“Even though the research is not applicable in Australia, due to an absence of permafrost, if a global perspective of this topic is applied, given the importance of the mass and extent of ground ice and permafrost, it reinforces the urgency for action on climate change.”
Dr Li said the new research model lays a solid foundation for the study of ground ice and permafrost, and provides knowledge for hydrology, ecology, and engineering associated with cold regions.
“The model accuracy will improve with further development of research theory and the improvement in data accuracy,” she said.
Dr Li’s fellow researchers are based at the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science in Lanzhou, China, and Dr Zhongqiong Zhang is the lead author.
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