World's Highest Webcam Monitors Climate Change on Everest

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Scaling the world's highest peak normally required months of training and heaps of determination -- but now, thanks to a new webcam installed on Mount Everest, anyone with an internet connection can get a taste of life in the clouds without leaving home. Recently, Italian researchers studying global warming in the Himalayas installed a heavy-duty, solar-powered camera at 18 thousand feet as a way of monitoring how climate change is impacting the region.The webcam, billed as the world's highest, was installed as part of a monitoring program overseen by Ev-K2-CNR, an Italian organization that researches mountains. The scientists chose to position the camera on Kala Patthar summit, near an Everest base camp, for its stunning views of the mountain's western face.

Check out images from the Everest webcam here.

In order to be sure that the device could withstand the extreme conditions at 5,675 metres above sea level, a particularly hardy webcam was developed by German surveillance company Mobotix. According to the company, the camera is capable of operating at temperatures nearing -22°F, powered during daylight hours via solar panels. In addition to returning some spectacular images of Everest (refreshed every 5 minutes), the monitoring station will also provide researchers with data on the temperature, humidity, and precipitation atop the mountain, reports Slashgear.

As global temperature rise and climate patterns shift as a result of global warming, so often the regions most impacted by the changes are also the hardest to study -- but thanks to advances in monitoring technology, that's beginning to change. For years, an increase in glacial melt and warmer weather has had local communities in Nepal feeling the pinch, so much so that most villagers there say they have seen the effects of climate change first hand. More worrisome yet is the fact that some experts have predicted that glaciers in the Himalayas could vanish altogether by 2035.

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