How much snow is there on Everest? Scientists have climbed it to find out

The summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, has always been an object of attention for scientists and researchers. The recent STEP (Second Scientific Expedition to Explore the Tibetan Plateau) expedition has brought new data on the depth of snow cover on this mountain, which turned out to be much higher than expected.

Using a new approach utilizing GPR technology, the researchers measured the snow cover on Everest and obtained results that were significantly different from previous estimates. They found that the average snow depth at the summit is 9.5 ± 1.2 meters, whereas it was previously thought to be only 0.9 to 3.5 meters.

The STEP expedition was conducted between April and May 2022. Scientists used the Pulse EKKO Pro GPR system for accurate measurements. Professor Yang Wei, lead author of the study, noted the value of the new method, “Our innovative approach has allowed us to more accurately define the boundaries between snow and rock, refining our understanding of the actual height of the cliffs on Everest.”

However, snow depth on Everest is not just an interesting fact. It is a critical climate indicator that can help scientists better understand changes in climate at high altitudes on Earth. Weather-driven changes in snow accumulation and drifting can significantly affect overall snow depth.

Snow depth at Everest has important implications for studying climate interactions and the effects of climate change on the planet. This discovery opens up new opportunities to better understand our planet and its ecosystems.

Professor Yao Tandong, Chief Scientist of the expedition, emphasized the importance of this study, “This discovery reveals more than just snow depth – it opens the door to a deeper understanding of our planet and the effects of climate change at high altitudes on Earth.”

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