Science from the top of the world

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Expedition climbers and Sherpa at the Balcony, the highest point from which microplastics were collected during the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition (www.NatGeo.com/Everest). Credit: Baker Perry, National Geographic

The science is in from an ambitious interdisciplinary expedition to Mt Everest – and the results are appropriately chilling.

From April to June 2019, 10 teams of researchers with backgrounds in glaciology, geology, meteorology, biology and mapping took part in the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, with the shared aim of understanding how human activity has impacted the highest part of the planet.

The early results, published as a series of papers in the journal One Earth, span plastic pollution, glacial losses, precipitation changes and more.

This was the largest scientific expedition ever conducted on Mt Everest, and one paper is solely dedicated to describing its incredible logistics, from designing an inflatable raft to take samples from alpine lakes to mapping routes involving more than six different modes of transport and coordinating local supplies and the knowledge of high-altitude Sherpas.

So, after this epic expedition, what did they find?

Climate on the Roof of the World

As the climate changes, mountainous environments are being hit hard. …

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