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Researchers climb to build mountain weather station

By YAN DONGJIE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-10-03 07:42
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Members of a Chinese expedition team measure the thickness of snow and ice on the summit of Mount Cho Oyu, Oct 1, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

An 18-member Chinese expedition team reached the summit of Mount Cho Oyu, also known as Mount Qowowuyag, with an altitude of 8,201 meters, on Sunday morning.

This is the second mountain exceeding 8,000 meters that Chinese scientists have scaled to carry out research. The first was Qomolangma, or Mount Everest, the world's highest summit, in 1960.

The team set up an automatic weather station at the summit, which is the second station at 8,000 meters that China has built. In addition to four other stations from 4,950 to 7,100 meters, all five weather stations on the world's sixth-highest peak, Mount Cho Oyu, have been completed.

Since late September, more than 120 members of 12 research groups and a support group have conducted research on Mount Qowowuyag on major issues such as ecosystems and carbon cycles, human activities, mineral resources and the geological environment in Asia.

The team carried out other tasks such as drilling ice cores from different altitude gradients, measuring the thickness of snow and ice on the summit, and collecting snow and ice samples.

Yao Tandong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and leader of the second Qinghai-Tibet Scientific Expedition team, told Xinhua News Agency that the stations and ice samples will help study how westerlies and monsoons have interacted at different altitudes in the Himalayan region in recent and ancient times, revealing changes in the "Asian water tower", and providing scientific support for ecological protection of the Tibetan Plateau.

The Asian water tower refers to the Himalaya Mountains and surrounding regions, which includes Mount Cho Oyu. It has the world's largest glacier, highest mountain peak and most rivers and lakes, which play an important role in the hydrological cycle and water supply of Asia.

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