A joint scientific expedition led by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Meteorological Bureau has achieved a significant milestone on October 22, by installing a multi-element automatic meteorological station at an elevation of 5,896 meters on the Wolong Ridge in the Kunlun Mountains. This station now stands as the highest-altitude meteorological station throughout the Kunlun Mountains, marking a crucial step towards establishing a comprehensive meteorological observation network on the northern slopes of the Tibetan Plateau.
Overcoming adverse weather conditions and the challenges of high-altitude sickness, the scientific expedition team spent nearly three months to successfully establish the multi-element meteorological station and fine-tune its equipment, achieving a milestone gradient observation at 6,000 meters in the Kunlun Mountains.
This meteorological station construction was carried out within the framework of the the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research (STEP), focused on "Climate Change and the Westerly-monsoon Synergy."
The challenging climate and rugged terrain had limited meteorological observations to relatively low-altitude areas in the past. Exploring the climate of the deep Kunlun Mountains has been a longstanding challenge for meteorologists in Xinjiang. Now, with the imperative of supporting ecological conservation in southern Xinjiang, agricultural and pastoral development, and disaster prevention, the need for meteorological data in previously unmonitored areas is pressing.
This new station will provide invaluable meteorological data for the study of high-altitude weather processes, climate change, and the unique precipitation characteristics of the Kunlun Mountains.
The main peak of Wolong Ridge is approximately 300 kilometers from the town of Minfeng. The scientific expedition team had to navigate south through the heart of the Kunlun Mountains, enduring a long journey with unpredictable weather conditions, including blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, icing, and heavy fog. (Videos and images taken by WANG Yongqiang and WANG Xiaofei, edited by IAP)
Due to the station's high elevation, even yaks could not reach the installation site. Expedition members had to manually transport equipment while carrying oxygen supplies. (Image by WANG Xiaofei)
As the altitude continued to rise, the effects of high-altitude sickness became more pronounced among expedition members. (Image by WANG Xiaofei)
Starting from the scratch. (Image by WANG Xiaofei)
Installing the instruments. (Image by WANG Yongqiang)
Fine-tuning the instruments. (Image by WANG Yongqiang)
The expedition team took a photo at the newly established station. (Image by WANG Xiaofei)
The establishment of the Wolong Ridge meteorological observation station fills a crucial data gap and monitoring blind spot in the Kunlun Mountains region. It records a range of meteorological parameters at the 500 hPa pressure level within the troposphere. (Image by WANG Yongqiang)