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Observatories Installed on World's Tallest Mountain
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Six automatic meteorological observation stations have been set up on Mount Qomolangma, more commonly know as Everest, the world's tallest, to secure a successful Olympic torch relay, the local meteorological bureau in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said on Wednesday.

Located at six positions starting at the Base Camp at 5,200 meters to an elevation of 6,200 meters above sea-level, the observation stations will for the first time form an complete network to collect and read meteorological data and forecast weather on Mount Everest, said Wu Shihong, an official with Tibet Meteorological Bureau.

The observatories will provide updates every hour and summaries are available every 15 or 30 minutes. Four of the six observatories are already in operation, according to Wu.

"The data will be crucial for us to know weather changes during a specific period of time, and the observatories will provide concrete statistics to ensure a successful Olympic torch relay across Mount Everest in the buildup to the 2008 Beijing Games," Wu said.

China has revealed ambitious plans for the longest torch relay in Olympic history -- a 137,000-kilometer, 130-day route that would cross five continents and scale the world's summit.

In addition to the Olympic service, the observatories are also expected to help study long-term climate change in the area under the context of global warming, Wu said.

A Chinese survey in 2005 found Mount Everest stands 8844.43 meters above sea level.

(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2007)

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