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Imaging Land Subsidence Induced by Groundwater Extraction in Beijing (China) Using Satellite Radar Interferometry

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mi Chen, Professor Zhenhong Li, Professor Tao Li, Leyin Hu



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Beijing is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world. Due to over-exploitation of groundwater, the Beijing region has been suffering from land subsidence since 1935. In this study, Small Baseline InSAR technique has been employed to process Envisat ASAR images acquired between 2003 and 2010 and TerraSAR-X stripmap images collected from 2010 to 2011 to investigate land subsidence in the Beijing region. The maximum subsidence is observed in the eastern part of Beijing with a rate greater than 100 mm/year. Comparisons between InSAR and GPS derived subsidence rates show an RMS difference of 2.94 mm/year with a mean of 2.41±1.84 mm/year. In addition, a high correlation was observed between InSAR subsidence rate maps derived from two different datasets (i.e. Envisat and TerraSAR-X). These demonstrate once again that InSAR is a powerful tool for monitoring land subsidence. InSAR derived subsidence rate maps have allowed for a comprehensive spatio-temporal analysis to identify the main triggering factors of land subsidence. Some interesting relationships of land subsidence were found with active faults, groundwater level, accumulated soft soil thickness and different aquifer types. Furthermore, a relationship with the distances to pumping wells was also recognized in this work.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chen M, Tomás R, Li Z, Motagh M, Li T, Hu L, Gong H, Li X, Yu J, Gong X

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Remote Sensing

Year: 2016

Volume: 8

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 02/06/2016

Acceptance date: 23/05/2016

Date deposited: 05/08/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2072-4292

Publisher: MDPIAG


DOI: 10.3390/rs8060468


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Funder referenceFunder name
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
China Scholarship Council (CSC)
Key Laboratory of Earth Fissures Geological Disaster, Ministry of Land and Resources (Geological Survey of Jiangsu Province)
10665ESA-MOST DRAGON-3 projects
10607ESA-MOST DRAGON-3 projects
41201419National Natural Science Foundation of China
NE/K010794/1UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
PRX14/00100Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
NE/N012151/1UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
TIN2014-55413-C2-2-PEU FEDER