Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a relatively new type of remote sensing platform with distinct advantages over conventional piloted aircraft, satellites, and in situ observations-notably, low cost and operational flexibility.
In recent years, UAV was applied to estimate the spatial distribution of ground surface temperatures on permafrost slopes and evaluate the thermal influence of nearby engineering infrastructure.
Recently, using UAV and thermal infrared remote sensing technology,scientists from Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) of Chinese Academy of Sciences estimate the spatial distribution of ground surface temperatures on permafrost slopes along the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor (QTEC), and evaluate the thermal influence of nearby engineering infrastructure.
They used a miniature UAV with a thermal infrared sensor to collect thermal images with high temporal-spatial resolution, to evaluate the relationship between engineering infrastructure and permafrost slopes in the QTEC.
The results of this study indicate that the thermal effect of the highway on the slopes exceeds that of the railway (above ground supported beam bridge) and power transmission lines, and the maximum impact range reaches 14 m, which can result in slope instability, which in turn will affect the stability of these engineering structures.
Besides, further research is required to evaluate the thermal effects between permafrost slopes and engineering structures so that methods can be employed to measure the spatiotemporal changes associated with terrain changes.
This study is the first to use UAV-based thermal infrared remote sensing to evaluate the thermal dynamics of permafrost slopes along the QTEC, and the results of this study may provide new insights into the future design, construction, and maintenance of engineering structures on permafrost slopes.
The study entitled “UAV-based spatiotemporal thermal patterns of permafrost slopes along the Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor” was published in Landslides.