The LSI LASTEM meteorological station was installed in 2008 on Mount Kala Patthar, Everest, and it is part of the instrumentation of the Pyramid Laboratory and Observatory. In November 2022, it was updated with the addition of the tallest webcam in the world.
The Khumbu valley, Nepal, is part of a long-term environmental monitoring, through 7 LSI LASTEM meteorological stations operating in 7 different sites, from the city of Lukla (2800 m) to the Kala Patthar mountain (5600 m). All of them have been regularly working for over 14 years, although they face the most adverse conditions that occur at such altitudes on a daily basis.
The meteorological instrumentation faces the severe climatic seasons in the Himalayan area, with solidity and data accuracy, including the monsoons with uninterrupted rains for over three months and the dry and cold winters with intense winds and very cold temperatures.
The monitoring activity is managed by the research project of the Pyramid Laboratory and Observatory, located at an altitude of 5,050 m on the slopes of Mount Everest. It is promoted by Ev-K2-CNR (Department of the Italian National Research Council), EvK2Minoprio, NAST (Nepal Academy of Science and Technology) and by some Italian universities, such as UNIMI, UNI Chieti, UNICA and UNIBS.
In November 2022, the weather station on Mount Kala Patthar at 5600 m altitude, fully working since 2008, was updated becoming an AAWS (Advanced Automatic Weather Station) by detecting, in addition, specific microclimatic measurements of radiation and soil temperatures. At the same time, the new EWC (Everest Web Cam) was installed, the highest webcam in the world.
The Pyramid Laboratory/Observatory
The Ev-K2-CNR Laboratory/Observatory is a research center born in the 90’s, as a result of the idea of Ardito Desio, a recognized explorer, geologist and mountaineer. The center pursues the data and scientific information collection regarding the Himalayan mountains climate, which are sensitive and relevant indicators of global climate change.
The structure, called “Pyramid” due to its shape, functions as a high-altitude multidisciplinary research laboratory, with the extra functions of the Observatory, called NCOP (Nepal Climatic Observatory Pyramid), which is equipped with a specific tools for the air quality monitoring.
The Observatory during the night.
The LSI LASTEM weather station at Mount Kala Patthar: an automatic and advanced station
Photo of the LSI LASTEM weather station, Kala Patthar, during a calibration process.
The LSI LASTEM Kala Patthar weather station, equipped with the E-log data logger, is located at an altitude of 5600 meters, at the foot of Mount Pumori 7150 m, between Himalaya and the border with Tibet, where the climate is affected by both “climatic engines“.
Installed in 2008, the station provided with WMO-standard weather data, plus specific sensors to study the the Nepalese microclimatic areas on the border with Tibet, such as:
- ultraviolet radiation (UV-A) with the specific sensor;
- the soil temperature, which detects the energy of solar radiation;
- radiometric measurements: 5 specific measurements, including global solar radiation and the one coming from the ground.
“The challenge of long-term climate monitoring in Himalaya was made possible thanks to the know-how of LSI LASTEM, as stated by Gian Pietro Verza, Technical Manager of the Pyramid, and to the complete control over the technologies, with the continuous commitment to ensure their reliability even in extreme environments.”
A network of extreme weather stations
Installation of the weather station at the South Col of Everest, at an altitude of 8000 meters, carried out through the Share Everest 2011 expedition.
The network of the various meteorological stations still active today is the flagship of the Italian experience in the meteorological phenomena analysis of the highest mountains in the world.
These are 5 weather stations (including the one in Kala Patthar) installed from 2000 until 2011.
The stations are located at the Pyramid (5050m), close to Lukla local airport (2660m), at the headquarters of the Everest National park (Sagarmatha National Park) in Namche (3570m), at one of the highest villages permanently inhabited: Pheriche (4260m), and on the glacier of Changri Nup (5700m).
Another network of 3 connected stations has been activated in Pakistan, including the areas of Askole (3000m), Urdukas (3926m) and Concordia (4700m).
These are networks of stations that are unique in the world in such inaccessible area like the Himalaya.
As stated by Gian Piero Verza, who saw the birth of the Pyramid project, it would not have been possible to create the network of meteorological stations in Nepal without the support of LSI LASTEM, a support that was also guaranteed for the AWS test of the South Col of Everest at 8000 meters.
The webcam on the roof of the world, a window on Everest
Photo captured by webcam at sunset, 5:11 pm (Nepal), November 19, 2022.
The camera installed in 2022 is located at an altitude of 5600 meters on mount Kala Patthar, facing Everest, and it records one image per minute, from a distance of only 10 km as the crow flies, from the highest point on the planet.
The idea of the camera, powered by photovoltaic panels and with wireless transmission and satellite connection to the Internet, is by Gian Pietro Verza. Alpine Guide, electronic designer, technical manager of the Piramide Laboratory and consultant/technician of LSI LASTEM. Gian Pietro coordinated the intervention with the Sherpas for the installation of the camera.
Kala Patthar’s camera, the highest in the world, exceeds the previous record of Capanna Margherita on Monte Rosa.
Photo taken from the webcam in real time, today January 02 2023 at 14:37 (Nepal time).
The photos recorded by the webcam are analyzed live in the Pyramid Observatory and then sent to Italy for further scientific processing.
Discover here the real-time images of the webcam!
Gian Pietro Verza, mountain guide, electronic developer, technical manager of the Piramide Laboratory and consultant/technician of LSI LASTEM during an expedition in Himalaya.
“As an electronic developer and mountain guide, I had the privilege of dealing with technologies at the highest possible altitudes, in environments which are as harsh as they are fascinating.
I express my gratitude to men like Ardito Desio and Agostino da Polenza who created and believed in this project. Esteem and gratitude to LSI LASTEM and other companies that have bet on the tireless creativity of Italian research and have supported it.
But my admiration, and also my heartfelt thanks, goes to all those humble desperate and stooped sherpas who, carrying materials and equipment, never let me miss a smile even under the most uncomfortable loads and the most slippery ground.”
Gian Pietro Verza