An international team of scientists will attempt to drill through the world's highest glacier located in the foothills of Mount Everest in Nepal, to understand how climate change works.
The team led by Duncan Quincey from University of Leeds in the UK is planning a six-week camp at the Khumbu glacier near Everest. The scientists plan to study the glacier's internal structure, its temperature, its flow and how water drains through it.
Understanding what happens in these glaciers is "critical" to predicting response to climate change, say Quincey and team. Glacier melt-water from the Himalayan range supports the livelihoods of millions of people. But risk of flash flooding for people living down-stream has increased over the years due to severe climate change.
"This is a real risk in the Himalayas as it is in other regions such as the Andes, and has the potential to endanger the lives of thousands of people," Quincey told the BBC.
How will the drilling work?
The scientists will be using a specially adapted car wash unit to drill up to 200 metres into the ice. The car wash drill produces a jet of hot water at a pressure high enough to cut through Tarmac. This drill will be powered by three Honda generators, which will however, operate at 50% capacity due to lack of oxygen.
The glacier is 17km long and situated in north eastern Nepal, and flows from as high as 25,000ft down to 16,000ft and is used by climbers on their way to Everest base-camp.