Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Crysopheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Decadal changes of surface elevation over permafrost area estimated using reflected GPS signals, by Lin Liu, Earth System Science Programme, Faculty of Science, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Conventional benchmark-based surveys and Global Positioning System (GPS) have been used to measure surface elevation changes over permafrost areas, usually once or a few times a year. Here we introduce a new method that uses 10 reflected GPS signals to measure temporal changes of ground surface elevation due to dynamics of the active layer and near-surface permafrost. Applying the GPS interferometric reflectometry technique to the signal-to-noise-ratio data collected by a continuous GPS receiver mounted deep in permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, we can retrieve the vertical distance between the antenna and surface reflector under the antenna. Using this unique kind of observables, we obtain daily changes of surface elevation during July and August from 2004 to 2015. Our results show distinct temporal variations at three timescales: 15 regular thaw settlement within each summer, strong inter-annual variability that is characterized by a sub-decadal subsidence trend followed by a brief uplift trend, and a secular subsidence trend of 0.26+/-0.02 cm/year during 2004 and 2015. This method provides a new way to fully utilize data from continuous GPS sites in cold regions for studying dynamics of the frozen ground consistently and sustainably over a long time.


Thursday, August 10, 2017
10:00 am




  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators
  • Open to Public


NSIDC, Room 155, East Campus, RL-2, 1540 30th Street