Posted: Dec 22, 2014 02:30 am EST
(Newsdesk) Christmas holidays get a special touch on Antarctica. Skiers have been resuming their Antarctica quests over the weekend, French couple Stéphanie Gicquel and Jérémie Gicquel with Norwegian Are Johansen are expected on the pole through today (Traverse Messner - GSP - Hercules Inlet).
One team about to get an unexpected holiday vacation is the K2 expedition whose permits were delayed by two weeks. Originally scheduled to fly out to Pakistan this week the mountaineers said they will at least get to spend the season home with their families.
Meanwhile the EvK2CNR Italian pyramid folks sent out a digital Christmas card which is also a good explainer of the unusual project, located near Everest south side base camp. Omnipresent on Everest and latest on K2, this summer the Pyramid people (scientists and high altitude mountaineers) put up a real time data weather station on K2 itself. The highest meteorological climate monitoring station in the Baltoro area, the structure was setup directly on the glacier at 4970 meters near the Italian 60-years-later expedition.
The modular station was designed by Italian Cae, leader in multi hazard and early warning systems. Four sensors (an anemometer, a thermoigrometer, a barometer, and an albedometer) transmitted wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, snow level and solar irradiation to researchers. Project organizers said hardest was the automated communication system and real time data connection. Madi, a Pakistani technician, helped install the station and calibrate the sensors.
On June 30, the first ever data received in real time from K2 showed temperature at K2 BC -1° minimum and 6.9 maximum; wind flow 13 Km/h and a relative humidity of low minimum 27% and maximum 75% (the raw real time data is available at EvK2CNR website).
The weather data will help understand local conditions. Curiously, Himalaya glaciers have been shrinking while some Karakoram glaciers have been growing.