Mount Everest snow plume: A case study

Authors


Abstract

[1] A plume of snow blowing from the summit of Mount Everest is one of the most iconic images of the world's highest mountain. Its presence provides evidence of the strong jet stream winds that can buffet the mountain. In January 2004, astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) observed a 15 to 20 km long snow plume emanating from the summit of Mount Everest. Remarkably little is known about these plumes and the role that they play in the redistribution of snow in the high Himalaya. In this paper we use a variety of meteorological datasets to show that the observed plume was the combination of high winds associated with the East Asian Jet Stream (EAJS) and a heavy snowfall that had occurred over the Himalaya during the preceding week. A simple model of a blown snow plume is shown to be consistent with the observations made from the ISS.

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