As the highest elevation permafrost region in the world, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) permafrost is quickly degrading due to global warming, climate change and human activities. The Qinghai-Tibet Engineering Corridor (QTEC), located in the QTP tundra, is of growing interest due to the increased infrastructure development in the remote QTP area. The ground, including the embankment of permafrost engineering, is prone to instability, primarily due to the seasonal freezing and thawing cycles and increase in human activities. In this study, we used ERS-1 (1997–1999), ENVISAT (2004–2010) and Sentinel-1A (2015–2018) images to assess the ground deformation along QTEC using time-series InSAR. We present a piecewise deformation model including periodic deformation related to seasonal components and interannual linear subsidence trends was presented. Analysis of the ERS-1 result show ground deformation along QTEC ranged from −5 to +5 mm/year during the 1997–1999 observation period. For the ENVISAT and Sentinel-1A results, the estimated deformation rate ranged from −20 to +10 mm/year. Throughout the whole observation period, most of the QTEC appeared to be stable. Significant ground deformation was detected in three sections of the corridor in the Sentinel-1A results. An analysis of the distribution of the thaw slumping region in the Tuotuohe area reveals that ground deformation was associated with the development of thaw slumps in one of the three sections. This research indicates that the InSAR technique could be crucial for monitoring the ground deformation along QTEC.
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