Baker Perry, Ph.D., Professor of Geology and Planning, Appalachian State University
The highest elevations of the Himalayas are among the most rapidly changing environments on the planet and of immense hydro-climatological significance, yet meteorological observations are largely non-existent above ~5,500 m. As a result, scientific understanding of glacier-climate interactions, paleoclimatic reconstructions from ice cores, and future high-elevation climate change remains limited. As part of the most comprehensive single research expedition to date in the region, our team installed a network of five weather stations at elevations ranging from 3,810 m to 8,430 m during the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Expedition to Mount Everest. The Balcony (8,430 m) and South Col (7,945 m) weather stations are the highest ever installed. This presentation will discuss (1) the numerous challenges specific to the design and installation of the weather stations, (2) particular challenges in conducting scientific research above 8,000 m; and (3) initial insights from the data collected thus far.