University of Hawaii, NOAA to gather climate change data following Mauna Loa eruption

A rectangular tube is attached to the banister of a deck on a building. The deck overlooks mountains with some snow cover and a two lane road. Cloud cover is below the deck height, down in the valleys.
Photo of an air intake tube at Maunakea Observatories in Hawaii. The system was installed on December 8, 2022. (NOAA)

NOAA will partner with the University of Hawaii (UH) to collect atmospheric measurements at the Maunakea Observatories offsite link on the Big Island of Hawaii. These measurements will provide records of global carbon dioxide (CO2) similar to those gathered for more than six decades at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), and will provide key information to track global climate change. 

Measurements at the NOAA observatory stopped following the recent eruption of Mauna Loa’s volcano when lava flow crossed the road leading to the site, blocking staff access and taking out power lines to the facility.

Under an emergency agreement, NOAA and UH have established a temporary measurement site at Maunakea offsite link, a dormant volcano located approximately 21 miles north of Mauna Loa, for the critical CO2 record and other atmospheric measurements taken at MLO. The existing science infrastructure at Maunakea allowed for this quick installation to occur with little change to the existing campus.

“The data gathered over many decades in Hawaii are essential to our understanding of climate change,” said Steve Thur, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “We are always grateful for the strong partnership with the University of Hawaii, but especially now when we need a way to ensure continuity in the measurement of CO2. Being able to pull atmospheric samples from Maunakea while Mauna Loa is down ensures that any disruption to this important long-term research will be minimal.” 

 

Media contact: 

Alison Gillespie, alison.gillespie@noaa.gov, (202) 713-6644