The Italian Almanac


Italian News - October 4

Italy is to set up one of the Earth's highest stations for atmospheric and other tests, a top mountain scientists said Tuesday. "We plan to install an atmospheric and climate monitoring station 8,000 metres up Everest, on the South Col," said project leader Agostino Da Polenza, one of the world's most respected high-altitude scientists.

Da Polenza announced the project, due for completion next summer, at an exhibition here on the world's 26 high-altitude test stations. "They examine all kinds of things: the performance of the human body at high altitudes; Earth Sciences; anthropological research on local populations; studying new technologies; and tracking cosmic rays," said Da Pollenza, head of Italy's EV-K2 programme at the National Research Council.

The show will have an illustrious visitor on October 11, when 1995 Nobel Chemistry Prize winner Paul Crutzen of the USA will illustrate projects aimed at gauging the growth of Asia's Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) - the huge industrial emissions blowing out of the fast-proliferating smoke stacks of China and India.

The cloud is one of the key targets of a measuring station Italy set up on Everest earlier this year. "Quite a few countries have been working on the ABC project but this station puts us right on top of the world," Da Pollenza said when the station was unveiled in February.

The new station is perched 5,050 metres up the world's highest mountain, right next to Italy's so-called 'Everest Pyramid'. The glass and aluminium Pyramid is an innovative research and observation centre first conceived by the late Ardito Desio, a world mountaineering legend. A team led by Desio was the first to conquer the world's second-highest mountain, K2, in 1954.