Will drilling Mount Everest bring clues about climate?
DESPERATE TIMES, DESPERATE MEASURES
"Climate-change scientists are to travel to the Himalayas in a bid to become the first team to successfully drill through the world's highest glacier.
The Aberystwyth University-led group will use a drill adapted from a car wash to cut into the Khumbu glacier in the foothills of Everest.
They will work at an altitude of 5,000m (16,400ft), in the hope of finding out how climate change affects Khumbu.Project leader Prof Bryn Hubbard said there will be "particular challenges".
The 10-mile (17km) long glacier, in north eastern Nepal, flows from as high as 7,600m (25,000ft) down to 4,900m (16,000ft) and is often used by climbers on their way to Everest base-camp.
'Contend with thin air'Once the drilling is done, the team will be able to study the internal structure of the glacier - measure its temperature, how it flows and how water drains through it.But it will be no walk in the park."
Working in the field is challenging at best, but this mission presents some particular challenges," said Prof Hubbard, a winner of the prestigious Polar Medal for his previous work."
We don't know how well our equipment will perform at altitude, let alone how we will be able to contend with the thin air."Half of the EverDrill team's 1,500kg (236-stone) equipment will be airlifted on to the glacier by helicopter in several trips while the other half will be carried by Sherpas and yaks."