Mauna Loa lava flow cuts off access to key global climate monitoring station

Lava blocks private road to NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory.
Lava blocks private road to NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory.(Paradise Helicopters)
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 12:11 PM PST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 6:35 PM PST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A private road leading to a key climate monitoring station is now blocked after lava flow from Mauna Loa crossed over the area overnight.

USGS reported that access to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory is now blocked as the eruption continues to move down the northeast rift zone.

The facility is part of NOAA’s global monitoring laboratory system that looks at atmospheric conditions and also releases data on the world’s CO2 emissions.

There are only four labs like this located across the globe.

USGS reported that lava has crossed the road to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory overnight. This is a private road used by NOAA to access the observatory.

“It plays a very important role in our understanding of the atmosphere and they have advanced laboratory equipment used for measuring a lot of different things about the atmospheric change,” said Ken Hon, top scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Scientists used the equipment in the observatory to establish the famed Keeling Curve record of atmospheric carbon, which provides evidence that human activities are altering the planet’s climate.

Because of the lava flow, power has been knocked out at the facility — meaning that for the first time in over 60 years no data is being recorded.

Meanwhile, USGS says radio transmission access remains open.

This story may be updated.