Image updated every five minutes
The world's highest webcam has been installed in the Nepalese Himalayas, beaming live images of Mount Everest to scientists studying the effects of climate change on the planet's tallest peak.
The solar-powered camera — set at 18,618 feet on Kala Patthar, a smaller mountain facing the Everest — will withstand temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius and operates during the day.
The device, developed by German surveillance firm Mobotix, is placed at an altitude more than a kilometre higher than the previous record for a high-altitude webcam set by a 4,389-metre-altitude camera at the base camp of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.
“We spent months developing the perfect set-up for the installation and invested a lot of time testing and verifying the system,” said Giampietro Kohl of Ev-K2-CNR, the mountain research group, which installed the camera.
“It inspired us on to set a record: operating the highest webcam in the world.”
The webcam operates from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nepalese time from the Kala Patthar summit, recording stunning images of Mt. Everest as well as the South Col.
The image is updated every five minutes, allowing climatologists to track the movement of the clouds around the mountain's summit.
“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,” a spokesman for Mobotix said in a statement.
The camera, which went live in September, uses a wireless connection to transmit images to the Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Laboratory, located at an altitude of 5,050 metres. The footage is then analysed by scientists in Italy, who hope to learn more about climate change and global warming using the images in conjunction with the meteorological data gathered from Everest.
The exact height of the world's tallest peak is also being re-measured in a separate Nepali project attempting to end the confusion on the issue.