Measurements at NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory stopped following the recent eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano, when lava flow blocked staff access and took out power lines to the facility.

Under an emergency agreement, NOAA and the University of Hawaii have established a temporary measurement site at the nearby Mauna Kea volcano for the critical CO2 record and other atmospheric measurements taken at the observatory.

Media can contact: Theo Stein (303) 819-7409 ( or Karin Vergoth 303-632-6413‬ (


NOAA logo National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)

What does this program measure?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is measured in parts per billion (ppb).

How does this program work?

Carbon Monoxide is measured via gas chromatograph and hot mercuric oxide detection.

Carbon Monoxide Instruments Frequency Site
Trace Analytical RGA3 reduction gas Analyzer no. R5 Continuous MLO
2.5-L glass flask AIRKIT pump unit 2 pair/week Kumukahi
2.5-L glass flasks,MAKS pump unit 1 pair/week MLO
2.5-L evacuated glass flasks 1 pair/week MLO

Why is this research important?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry.

Are there any trends in the data?

Carbon Monoxide is highly variable in the atmosphere, meaning there are periods of increase and periods of decrease.

How does this program fit into the big picture?

What is it's role in global climate change?

CO has an indirect greenhouse effect. Changes in CO affect the chemistry of the atmosphere, impacting the removal of Methane (CH4) and other radiative gases.

The NOAA ESRL GMD Carbon Cycle-Greenhouse Gases group (CCGG) conducts research to understand the global carbon cycle and its effects on climate. At CCGG measurements are made to determine baseline levels, trends and causes of variability of several atmospheric gases (carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide), that have the potential to affect global climate.

To obtain detailed understanding of the short term as well as long term variations of the greenhouse gases, CCGG makes on-site measurements at the four NOAA/ESRL/GMD baseline observatories, which are far from any pollution sources affecting the gases of interest.

Comments and References

Lead Investigator(s):

Paul Novelli

MLO Contact(s):

Aidan Colton
808-933-6965 (x233)
Paul Fukumura
808-933-6965 (x223))

Web Site(s)

Date Started


Related Programs

In Situ Carbon Dioxide
In Situ Methane
Global Air Sampling
Greenhouse Gases

Carbon Monoxide Analyzer
CO analyzer

Carbon Monoxide Gas Tanks
Calibration tanks

Flow Meter
Flow meter