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(*image National Geographic)


In an expedition funded by National Geographic and Rolex, in partnership with the Chilean government, the same team who installed the world's highest weather station on Mount Everest, have just succeeded in establishing a new station near the summit of Tupungato Volcano in Central Chile.


Tupungato is the highest mountain of the Maipo basin and is part of the Southern Andes 'water tower' which Santiago and central Chile rely on for their water supply - as snow and ice melts to provide critical water resources, but since 2010 they have faced the longest drought in modern meteorological records. Due to climate change glaciers are shrinking, and in some places disappearing altogether, but experts don't fully understand what's going on up so high.


At 21,341 feet above sea level, this new weather station makes it the highest in the Southern and Western hemispheres and it's already collecting and transmitting vital meteorological data that will help scientists and government leaders in Chile with future water management. National Geographic said that the Rolex Perpetual Planet Tupungato Volcanic Expedition is also "providing critical insights to help scientists, decision-makers, and local communities plan for and find solutions to the impacts of climate change on mountain systems and the water resources they provide to nearly 2 billion people around the world."


"Through our partnership with Rolex to study and explore Earth's critical life support systems, our ultimate goal is to use the new information and data gathered from the expeditions to support and elevate solutions that can help restore balance to our ecosystems," said Nicole Alexiev, Vice President of Science and Innovation at National Geographic Society.