Live Webcam of Mt Everest is simply stunning
By David Hague
I much prefer the cold to the hot. I am fond of saying that it is FAR easier to get warm than cool, especially in the temperatures Australia gets. The worst I have had was around 46 degrees (in the Pilbara), and compared to that, give me the -3 or 4 I have experienced in Switzerland in the Alps any day.
But cold is REALLy defined in one place in the world, combined with a howling, screaming wind that can cut through plexiglass as if it was butter; Mt Everest.
Some may have seen the wonderful two part documentary a few weeks ago on ABC1 showing a crew climbing Everest with only the basics of gear as used by the veteran climber, George Mallory. The aim was to discover whether in fact he, rather than Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top first.
At Auscam, we are putting together a feature on this as the crew used mainly bog standard Sony gear, and the video footage and the story of how it was obtained is simply stunning as well as heart breaking.
Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is currently also the focus of two different other projects; the exact height of the mountain will be measured using cutting-edge technology in a project sponsored by the Nepalese government. A number of other high-tech devices will be used in the 'Everest Share 2011' research project. And as part of the international climate and environmental monitoring conference "Share" - Stations at High Altitude for Research on the Environment, the weather conditions will be documented using a MOBOTIX camera.
The highest webcam in the world brings Everest to the Internet
So, although the results of the height measurement may not be available for another two years, you can already see live images from the "Everest Share 2011" research project. Everybody can watch real-time video from the top of Mount Everest right from the comfort of the home computer.
A MOBOTIX camera makes this possible and it sets a new record in the process: the operation of the highest webcam in the world at temperatures reaching minus 30 degrees Celsius. The Ev-K2-CNR scientific committee from Bergamo, Italy, installed a type-M12 MOBOTIX camera on nearby Kala Patthar (5,675 meters tall). This camera is currently recording stunning images of the 8,848-meter tall Mount Everest. The video shows Mount Everest as well as the South Col Plateau on the right side of the image. The image is updated every five minutes so that we can even track the movement of the clouds around the mountain's summit. The webcam is only active during daylight hours (6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Nepalese time, which corresponds to 11:45 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Central European time).
Images for climate protection
The "Everest Share 2011" research project is taking place as part of the international "Share" climate and environmental monitoring conference. Researchers selected Kala Patthar as the camera location because it offers an excellent view of the western side of Mount Everest, including the north and southwest faces of the mountain and the West Ridge. The camera uses a wireless connection to transmit images to the Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Laboratory/Observatory located at an altitude of 5,050 meters. Here, the video is analyzed and then sent to Italy for further evaluation. Researchers hope to learn more about climate change and global warming using this video, in conjunction with meteorological data, such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, sunlight and precipitation, gathered by the world's highest weather station (8,000 meters) on Mount Everest.
The best image quality under extreme conditions
Powered by a solar panel, the MOBOTIX camera delivers high-quality images in spite of the icy temperatures, which can reach minus 30 degrees Celsius. Since the camera is robust and flexible, it is ideally suited for harsh environmental conditions. The installation was carried out by Italian engineers together with the Nepalese Ev-K2-CNR team and was coordinated by Giampietro Kohl, leader of the Ev-K2-CNR technical committee. Kohl says, "We spent months developing the perfect setup for the installation and invested a lot of time testing and verifying the system. And it inspired us on to set a record: operating the highest webcam in the world."
The first time I looked at this automatic webcam footage, I thought it had malfunctioned as all I saw was a white screen. Ten minutes later I refreshed and looked agin and there was Everest, sharp as a tack; the "white" previously was simply that - "whiteout" of snow and wind giving zero visibility. I almost shivered.
It's addictive watching this; a bit like the webcam that was put next to the broken pipeline of the ruptured BP oil platform in the Atlantic
Except this is all naturally made footage; and it has been doing this since the earth began millions, perhaps BILLIONS of years ago.
Think about that. Just as in your own video, what you are seeing here will NEVER happen again.... Be awed.