Six automated meteorological observation stations have been set
up on Mount Qomolangma, the world's highest peak, to ensure a
successful Olympic torch relay, the local meteorological bureau in
southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said.
Located at six positions, starting at the base camp at 5,200
meters and going as high as an elevation of 6,200 meters above sea
level, the observation stations form a network allowing authorities
to collect and read meteorological data and forecast the weather on
Mount Qomolangma, said Wu Shihong, an official with the Tibet
The observatories will provide updates every hour and summaries
will be available every 15 or 30 minutes. Four of the six
observatories are already in operation, said Wu.
"The data will provide us with crucial information about weather
changes during specific periods of time. The observatories will
provide concrete statistics to ensure a successful Olympic torch
relay across Mount Qomolangma in the build-up to the 2008 Beijing Games," Wu said.
Organizers of the Beijing Games have revealed ambitious plans
for the longest torch relay in Olympic history - a
137,000-kilometer, 130-day route that will cross five continents
and scale the world's highest summit, which straddles the border
between China and Nepal.
In addition to their contribution to the Olympics, Wu said, the
observatories are also expected to help provide data on the
long-term effects of climate change in the area.
Tibet experienced its third warmest winter in the last seven
years this year, with temperatures rising by as much as 9 C in some
areas, according to the regional meteorological bureau.
Climate change has led to the acceleration of glacial melt on
the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, also known as the "roof of the
The plateau, regarded as a barometer for the world's climatic
conditions, has seen its glaciers melt at an average rate of 131.4
sq km per year over the past three decades, scientists have
They have also warned that Mount Qomolangma will eventually lose
its snow cover if climate change is allowed to continue
A Chinese survey in 2005 found Mount Qomolangma, known to
Westerners as Mount Everest, stands 8,844 meters above sea
(China Daily May 18, 2007)