RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Freezing and frostbite on mount everest: new insights into wind chill and freezing times at extreme altitude.

Cold injury is an acknowledged risk factor for those who venture into high altitude regions. There is, however, little quantitative information on this risk that can be used to implement mitigation strategies. Here we provide the first characterization of the risk of cold injury near the summit of Mount Everest. This is accomplished through the application of a meteorological dataset that has been demonstrated to characterize conditions in the region as inputs to new parameterizations of wind chill equivalent temperature (WCT) and facial frostbite time (FFT). Throughout the year, the typical WCT near the summit of Everest is always <-30°C, and the typical FFT is always less than 20 min. During the spring climbing season, WCTs of -50°C and FFTs of 5 min are typical; during severe storms, they approach -60°C and 1 min, respectively; values typically found during the winter. Further, we show that the summit barometric pressure is an excellent predictor of summit WCT and FFT. Our results provide the first quantitative characterization of the risk of cold injury on Mount Everest and also allow for the possibility of using barometric pressure, an easily observed parameter, in real time to characterize this risk and to implement mitigation strategies. The results also provide additional confirmation as to the extreme environment experienced by those attempting to summit Mount Everest and other high mountains.

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