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Factors influencing thermokarst lake development in Beiluhe basin, the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau

Wang, Huini, Liu, Hongjia, Ni, Wankui
Environmental earth sciences 2017 v.76 no.24 pp. 816
basins, frozen soils, hinterland, lakes, permafrost, soil types, statistical analysis, temperature, vegetation types, China
Thermokarst lake is a significant indicator of permafrost degradation. However, the evaluation of thermokarst lake development is very difficult through physical mechanism analysis because the development is influenced by many factors. In the present study, the factors influencing thermokarst lake development were investigated from the perspective of frozen soil and the geographical environment. The influences of six factors on thermokarst lake development in Beiluhe basin, located in the hinterland of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, were analyzed: permafrost type, ground temperature, vegetation type, soil type, hydrogeological type, and slope. Sensitivity coefficients were calculated for these factors using statistical methods. The results show that thermokarst lake development was influenced by the analyzed factors as follows: permafrost > soil type > ground temperature > hydrogeological type. Furthermore, 80.1% of the study area was highly sensitive to thermokarst lake development. Overall, thermokarst lake development in the Beiluhe basin was thoroughly evaluated based on sensitivity factors and an established statistical evaluation method. The method detailed in this paper provides a reference for evaluating the likelihood and severity of thermokarst lake development.